Bond possible for man accused of smuggling $100K into Mexico

A Rio Grande City man faces federal felony charges related to his alleged attempt to smuggle more than $100,000 in cash into Mexico without declaring it, records show.

On Wednesday, Sergio Omar Landa Jr., appeared before U.S. Magistrate J. Scottt Hacker via video conference for a hearing to reopen a detention hearing for Landa, who was arrested in late June at a port of entry attempting to enter Mexico without declaring a bulk amount of cash.

During the hearing, the government said it was not opposed to a motion to reopen a detention hearing for Landa.

The court stated it would review the conditions of release for Landa, specifically if any family member could serve as a co-surety/third party custodian for the defendant in order to grant a bond release.

The 31-year-old man was arrested June 20 during his attempt to cross into Mexico at the Rio Grande City port of entry.

Landa did not make a declaration for $10,000 or more and upon a subsequent search, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers discovered a black bag inside Landa’s vehicle.

“Officers examined the vehicle and discovered a black bag containing bundles of U.S. currency concealed behind the rear seat of the vehicle,” the complaint stated. “Officers subsequently counted a total of $100,000 U.S. dollars inside the black bag and another $25 U.S. dollars in Landa’s personal effect, for a grand total of $100,025.”

During his interview with federal agents, Landa allegedly stated he was on his way to Camargo, Tamaulipas, Mexico to meet a woman. Additionally, Landa said he was going to use the $100,000 to buy a ranch property in Camargo.

“Landa said he concealed the money inside the vehicle to avoid reporting it to officers. Landa said he knew that failing to declare U.S. currency over $10,000 U.S. dollars when exiting the United States to Mexico was a violation of U.S. law,” the complaint stated.

As of Friday, Landa remained in federal custody.