Hispanic Woman Arrested for Smuggling Dollars

Hispanic Arrested for Smuggling Thousands of Dollars Across the Border

In a manner reminiscent of Griselda Blanco, a Hispanic woman succeeded in smuggling thousands of dollars from her home country to the United States. However, her story ended with the same fate as that of the ‘Cocaine Godmother’ – behind bars in an American prison.

The woman in question is Mirtza Ocaña, a 38-year-old who has been accused by federal prosecutor Roger B. Handberg of “smuggling more than $100,000 in cash into the United States from Cuba,” as detailed in the official statement.

According to Ocaña’s arrest warrant, she arrived on February 5, 2024, at Tampa International Airport on an international flight from Cuba. Upon declaring her assets, she claimed to have no more than $10,000 in cash with her, thus having nothing to declare. However, U.S. law requires anyone entering the country with more than $10,000 in cash to declare it with the purpose of preventing terrorism financing and money laundering from global criminal organizations.

Her suspicious behavior led to a thorough inspection of her belongings by the authorities, who uncovered her guilty secret. During a routine baggage inspection, agents from the Department of Homeland Security recovered approximately $30,000 in cash hidden in three wrapped packages. Further inspection revealed an additional $70,000 in cash hidden in her clothes.

Ocaña admitted to flying from Cuba to Tampa two or three times per month to smuggle cash into the U.S. and knowingly bringing undeclared large amounts of cash, which is illegal, according to the federal prosecutor’s office.

Despite her arrest, Ocaña was released on bail, and she has already returned home. If found guilty on all charges, she faces a maximum sentence of five years in a federal prison, warned by Florida Federal Prosecutor Roger B. Handberg in his statement.

The case has been taken over by the U.S. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents and U.S. Customs and Border Protection Field Operations, and more investigations are underway.

The story of Mirtza Ocaña serves as a warning to those trying to smuggle money across the border and the consequences they may face. The continued effort by law enforcement agencies to clamp down on such illegal activities demonstrates their commitment to safeguarding the country’s security and financial integrity.