By Brett Wolf

ST. LOUIS, May 4 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) – To combat money laundering and contain the drug war raging along the U.S.-Mexico border, U.S. authorities are seeking technology that can detect the hoards of cash that smugglers try to spirit abroad.

But as results come in on initial development efforts, it is uncertain whether the technology is within reach.

“Right now we don’t know if it’s even feasible to make it work,” said John Verrico, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s and Technology Directorate. “There is a whole lot that has to be considered before we can say we have viable technology.”

The 2007 National Money Laundering Strategy, produced by the Departments of Treasury, Justice, and Homeland Security, stated that the smuggling of bulk currency out of the United States is “the largest and most significant drug money laundering threat facing law enforcement.”

To counter the threat, DHS would invest in research and development of “non-intrusive bulk currency detection technology,” the document said.