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Stampede to the Border

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Couple of local mentions in the new issue of Forbes, as in: We're the home to "vitamin" beer and $100 bills being illegally trucked into Mexico by smugglers now biding their time in Laredo prisons. Amazingly, these stories are not related. The first one's about Lawrence Schwartz's Stampede beer, which is made here and contains, in addition to smoked hops, barley and spring water, a little thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pyridoxine and folate -- and, like, yum. It's been around for a while, but they've been sampling the stuff at Whole Foods and Central Market of late -- and many feel the same way about it as I do: "What drainpipes are for." Heh.

And then there's this story about money being smuggled into Mexico. Naughty, naughty Carlos Martinez:

This year the 49-year-old made 15 trips to move stacks of cash from his Dallas home over the border to Durango, Mexico in his 2002 silver Ford van. It was a lucrative commute--Martinez got paid as much as $15,000 for each voyage. But it all came to an end one morning in July, when he got stopped in Laredo, Tex. by a U.S. customs agent just as he was about to cross the Lincoln-Juarez Bridge into Mexico. A secret compartment inside the van held 18 bundles of cash totaling $837,000, wrapped in duct tape. Martinez has pleaded not guilty to bulk cash smuggling and is being held in a Laredo prison. Aided by money-sniffing dogs, agents have found $100 bills stashed everywhere, from car tires to people who have swallowed money placed in latex gloves and condoms.

You're screwed if you travel with this, sounds like. --Robert Wilonsky

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