The Laundry Man by Kenneth Rijock ( Penguin/Random House UK)

Monday, September 1, 2014


A new advance in technology, the Bulk Currency Detection System, or BCDS, designed for Border Patrol and CBP use at the Mexican border, has been announced by the manufacturer, at a recent meeting of the American Chemical Society. The device, which reportedly looks like a wand, is said to detect the range of organic compounds emitted by US currency.

Though not yet deployed in the field, the technology, provided that it can differentiate between small amount of cash, and sums in excess of $10,000, could vastly improve the numbers of successful incidents of the interdiction, and seizure, of drug proceeds, being repatriated to Latin America, by bulk cash smugglers. It may serve to level the playing field, which to date has vastly favored the cash couriers, only a small percentage of whom are believed to be identified at the crossing checkpoints.

The device could also serve as a deterrent to the large number of individuals who accept employment as bulk smugglers for cross-border trips to Mexico, for knowing that there exists a tool to identify them and their hoard of cash might make some of them think again about being an illicit cash courier. Let us hope that it can be deployed forthwith, and that it will enjoy universal use by the law enforcement agencies charged with protecting our borders.

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