$15k in Cash Not Reported to Customs at Dulles Airport, Seized

Stacks of cash and a pile of envelopes seized by U.S. Customs & Border Protection

CBP seized $15,000 in cash that was being transported to Ghana from a traveler at Dulles Airport.

The story, quoted below, references some “travel tips” shared by CBP Dulles. Apparently, the ‘travel tips’ advise about “truthfully report[ing] all currency they possess to a CBP officer during inspection.”

That’s a good idea, but the best idea is to report it to a CBP officer before inspection, as the law requires. 

In this money seizure encounter, a dog alerted the currency and CBP asked him how much he carried after they “explained the currency reporting requirements” (i.e., report what you carry if more than $10,000).

At this point, the violation of the currency reporting requirements has occurred. The money has not been reported to CBP, and the man likely is about to leave the United States. That’s all that’s necessary to violate the reporting requirement under 31 USC 5316.

The man reported he had $8,000, verbally and in writing.This is the man then digging himself into a deeper hole with CBP. Perhaps they would look past his initial failure to report if he accurately reported how much he was carrying when he was asked by CBP, after the dog alerted to money. Maybe, maybe not. But at this point, incorrectly stating the amount of cash you have on you is not going to end well; it will end in a seizure of the money.

The story, as reported by CBP, follows:

STERLING, Virginia — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recently issued travel tips for international travel through Washington Dulles International Airport. Chiefly among those tips is for travelers to truthfully report all currency they possess to a CBP officer during inspection. 

A traveler leaving for Ghana Wednesday learned that lesson when CBP officers seized $15,415 of unreported currency he had in his possession.

While working a departure gate at Dulles airport, a CBP currency detector dog alerted to a carry-on bag that a U.S. citizen man carried. Officers explained the currency reporting requirements to the man and the man reported verbally and in writing that he possessed $8,000. An examination revealed that the man possessed $15,415. Officers seized the currency and returned $115 to the man as a humanitarian release, and then released the traveler. 

It is perfectly legal to carry large sums of currency in or out of the United States. However, federal law requires that travelers who possess $10,000 or more in currency or other monetary instruments must report it all to a CBP officer at the airport, seaport, or land border crossing when entering or leaving the country.