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Flight Attendant Tells Customs He Has $100. It Was $9K

4 American Airlines flight attendants accused of smuggling $22K in cash into Miami
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 23, 2019 10:46 AM CDT
American Airlines planes are shown parked at their gates at Miami International Airport on April 24, 2019.   (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)

(Newser) – Four American Airlines flight attendants have been arrested on money laundering charges after police say they flew into Miami with more than $22,000 in cash. Carlos Alberto Munoz-Moyano was the first to be checked by customs at Miami International Airport after departing the flight from Santiago, Chile, on Monday. The 40-year-old claimed to have $100 but was actually carrying $9,000, CNN reports, citing a police report. Agents then checked other attendants from the same flight, finding $7,300 on Miaria Delpilar Roman-Strick, 55, and $6,371 on Maria Isabel Wilson-Ossandon, 48, for a grand total of $22,671, the report said.

Authorities say a fourth flight attendant, Maria Beatriz Pasten-Cuzmar, conspired with her colleagues to deliver the cash to a "known person" in the US, in exchange for 1% of the US currency they carried, reports the Miami Herald. NBC Miami's Carlos Suarez notes US law requires travelers to declare cash over $10,000—which none of the flight attendants had—"so it is still unclear just why they lied" to customs agents. He adds federal charges are expected to follow. In a statement to the Herald, American Airlines says "we take this matter seriously and are cooperating with law enforcement throughout their investigation." (Read more flight attendants stories.)

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