Man, Distracted by Pot Bust, Stopped at the Border with $128,547 Stuffed in His Socks

Thursday, July 18, 2013
This is not the shoe or money belonging to Antonio Rakigjija.

Update: Charges against Antonio Rakigjija were dismissed without prejudice in September 2013, according to the Huffington Post.


Here’s a tip to any would-be money smuggler’s coming across the border from Mexico. Make sure you’ve found a good hiding place for your marijuana before you hit the checkpoint. 

Antonio Rakigjija did not, and now he has some explaining to do to federal authorities.

Rakigjija, 51, was in the passenger seat of a Ford Focus two weeks ago with his son Franco at the wheel when a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent at the San Ysidro crossing asked the California residents if they had anything to declare and was told no. Were they bringing anything back from Mexico?

Again, they said no, but the “Narcotics/Human detection Dog” outside their car indicated the answer should have been maybe, according to a probable cause statement filed by the arresting officer. A quick look in the back seat turned up a jar of “green leafy substance” in a jacket that the senior Rakigjija said belonged to a friend.

Officers then took the two into the security office for a pat down and found $128,547 stuffed inside Antonio’s socks. He said he received the money in Mexico as part of a business transaction for his bean export company and knew he had to declare it at the border.

So, why didn’t he? Antonio’s reason was “he got distracted with the inspection of the vehicle and discovery of Marijuana in his sons vehicle,” according to the officer’s statement.

Antonio was charged with violating the law against bulk cash smuggling and the federal complaint sought forfeiture of the money.

–Ken Broder


To Learn More:

Feds: Man Hid $128,547 In Sock Smuggle Bid (The Smoking Gun)

United States v. Antonio Rakigjija (U.S. District Court Southern District of California)

Probable Cause Statement (United States v. Antonio Rakigjija)

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