DOCUMENT: Crime

Feds: Man Hid $128,547 In Sock Smuggle Bid

Suspect, 51, was busted returning to U.S. from Mexico

Cash

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Cash Smuggled In Sock

JULY 16--How much cash can you stuff in your socks?

Federal agents allege that a California man had a whopping $128,547 hidden in his hosiery when he tried to cross back into the U.S. from Mexico last month, according to court records.

Antonio Rakigjija, 51, was a passenger in a Ford Focus driven by his son Franco on June 5. As the car was in a lane at the San Ysidro, California port of entry, the men were questioned by a Customs and Border Protection agent “conducting roving pre-primary operations” with his “Narcotics/Human detection Dog.”

Rakigjija’s son explained that “they were in Mexico for a couple of hours conducting business for his fathers agriculture business.” Both men twice denied that they were attempting to bring in anything from Mexico that needed to be declared, according to a probable cause statement filed in U.S. District Court in San Diego.

However, after the federal agent discovered a glass jar containing pot in a jacket on the vehicle’s back seat, the Rakigjijas were escorted to a security office to be frisked.

During the ensuing pat down, the elder Rakigjija revealed that he “had money in his socks and that the money was for business expenses related to his bean export company.” He added that the money--the denominations of which are not detailed in court filings--had been wired to a Tijuana currency exchange by a Mexican company with which he does business.

Rakigjija, who reportedly acknowledged that knew of the “currency reporting requirement at the international border,” claimed that he had planned to declare the cash in his socks, but got “distracted” when marijuana was found in the vehicle.

Pictured above, Rakigjija was named today in a felony complaint charging him bulk cash smuggling. The complaint also seeks the forfeiture of the $128,547.

In a court filing last week, Rakigjija petitioned for the return of the cash, which he contended he needed to run his import company. Additionally, Rakigjija reported that he “has a house payment, a child that is about to start college and is getting married” at his La Jolla home this Friday. (5 pages)