CBP seizes 68 pounds of cocaine, $13K in cash at Brownsville bridge

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The rubber bands gave her away.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers on Thursday noticed numerous rubber bands on the turn signal arm inside a 2015 Chevrolet Traverse driven by Keyla Martinez at the B&M International Bridge.

That made the CBP officers suspicious.

They asked her whether she had any money and she said she had $4,000, according to a criminal complaint.

“When questioned about the origin of the money, Martinez stated the money came from selling a piece of land in Mexico,” the complaint stated. “Based on the amount of rubber bands observed and the inconsistencies in the explanation of the origin of the money, the (CBP officer) referred Martinez for a secondary inspection.”

During that inspection, a pat down search of Martinez revealed approximately $9,000 that she failed to declare and a K-9 alerted to the vehicle’s trunk, which is where CBP found 29 bricks of cocaine weighing nearly 68 pounds inside a false compartment in the floor.

In all, CBP also seized a total of $13,941.

“During a post Miranda interview Martinez admitted to picking up her vehicle which had been left by unknown persons at the Soriana store in Matamoros, Mexico,” the complaint stated. “Martinez admitted she intended to transfer the vehicle to unknown persons in the United States.”

Martinez made a first appearance Friday in Brownsville federal court in front of U.S. Magistrate Judge Ignacio Torteya III who ordered her held without bond pending a detention hearing scheduled for next week, court records show.

She is charged with possessing with the intent to distribute for the cocaine and has an additional smuggling bulk cash currency charge.