Recently, CBP seized a large amount of money arriving into the United States because it was not reported. The seizure occurred when CBP stopped a Beninese couple who had arrived in the United States from Belgium.
Upon being asked, they reported less than $10,000. Then they changed the story to $9,500 and €19,000.
Of course, that turned out not to be the whole truth.
Instead, they had more than $15,000, more than €35,000, and about $1,235 in West African Francs (an interesting monetary union, that).
The worst news for this couple is that there is a very clear presumption that the money was hidden because the money was not just in several envelopes, but within the luggage inside pant and suit pockets, and on the woman’s body.
At Dulles airport, that means it’s bulk cash smuggling. And bulk cash smuggling at Dulles airport means that if you get any money back (by proving legitimate source and intended use), you lose about half of it as a penalty.
Here is the full story from CBP Dulles:
STERLING, Virginia — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized nearly $57,000 in unreported currency from a Benin couple Thursday at Washington Dulles International Airport.
The couple, who arrived on a flight from Belgium, initially told CBP officers that they possessed less than $10,000. After officers advised them of U.S. currency reporting laws, the couple reported verbally and in writing that they possessed $9,500 and 19,000 euros.
During an examination, CBP officers discovered $15,765 in U.S. dollars, 36,095 euros and 722,000 West African francs for a combined equivalent of $56,985 in U.S. dollars. Officers discovered the currency in several envelopes, inside pants and suit pockets within their luggage, and during a patdown of the female traveler.
It is 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.
“Customs and Border Protection officers know that concealed bulk currency is oftentimes proceeds from alleged illicit activity and is used to fund transnational criminal organizations,” said Casey Durst, CBP’s Field Operations Director in Baltimore. “This currency seizure reflects CBP’s continuing commitment to enforce all U.S. laws, including federal currency reporting laws, at our nation’s international ports of entry.”
Consequences for violating U.S. currency reporting laws are severe; penalties may include seizure of most or all of the traveler’s currency, and potential criminal charges.
CBP officers seized the currency. Officers then returned the 722,000 West African francs, equivalent to about $1,240, to the couple for humanitarian relief, and released the couple to continue their visit.https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/local-media-release/dulles-cbp-seizes-nearly-57k-unreported-currency-benin-travelers