CBP announced the seizure of around $86,000 in cash from a man in Houston. The seizure took place on December 7, and, sounds like a very unfortunate incident for the man whose cash was seized. In this case, he is a Peruvian national and it sounds like he was only in the United States for a layover on his trip from Japan.
While at the Bush Intercontinental Airport, he went through Customs (presumably to do some more duty-free shopping) when he was taken for a secondary inspection to pay taxes on some cigarettes. For whatever reason, CBP supposedly explained the currency reporting requirement to him and he declared only $4,000.
Apparently, he had keys to some other luggage on his person. CBP located the luggage that those keys belonged to and inspected it, and lo and behold, discovered $86,000 hidden within 8 packages of photo paper. A picture of that concealment is included. Here’s the story:
HOUSTON— U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) seized over $86,000 from a traveler en route to Peru.
A Peruvian national, arriving from Japan, was referred to secondary for duty collection on cigarettes. CBP officers explained the currency reporting requirements and the traveler declared $4,000, Dec. 7.
A baggage exam revealed keys to additional luggage, which the traveler claimed were in Peru. The luggage was located and inspected, at which time CBP officers discovered $100 bills lined within eight packages of photo paper totaling $80,000. An envelope containing over $2,400 was also discovered. In total, CBP seized more than $86,000.
“Travelers have no limit to the amount of currency they can bring into or take out of the U.S.; however, they are required by U.S. law to report if they are carrying $10,000 or more,” said Port Director Charles Perez. “When travelers refuse to comply with federal reporting requirements, they face the risk of having the currency seized and possible civil and or criminal penalties assessed.”
Now, the link provided by CBP is to their own Q&A about currency reporting requirements. Frankly, the advice given their is more or less accurate, except that the law requires a report of more than $10,000, not $10,000 or more. It’s a difference of a penny but that’s the law, so CBP gets it partially wrong.
No word on whether or not this traveler was arrested, but likely they would have mentioned that fact if it was the case with this bulk cash smuggling seizure — money concealed with the apparent intention to not file the currency report. Did this traveler have that intent? Hmm, a tough call — a great argument could be made that he did not!