See the below news release from Customs & Border Protection about a currency seizure in Nogales, Arizona:
Six people were arrested recently in multiple smuggling attempts here involving local residents and Mexican nationals.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Port of Nogales seized methamphetamine, heroin and cash in a four-day period that, when combined, grossed close to $1.5 million in value.
[ . . . ]
Friday afternoon, a local man was taken into custody at the DeConcini Port for attempting to transport $96,880 of unreported U.S. currency into Mexico. Marcos Esquer, 34, was traveling with the extra cash hidden in the engine of his Ford truck.
So, of course as seen countless times in these news releases, the concealment of the cash in the engine of his truck constitutes a smuggling offense. This is likely a criminal proceeding because Customs released his name. If this was just a civil seizure, the guy could try to prove legitimate source and legitimate intended use; then this situation would be completely avoidable. But now, even if criminal charges are ultimately not filed or if he is ultimately found not guilty of a crime, he will still face civil forfeiture of the money and, if he wants it back, will have to fight for its return administratively, or in the courts.
In a civil seizure, you can petition for the return of the currency. If you have had currency seized from Customs, do not go it alone. Get the advice of an attorney who knows what he is doing. If you do not, you might only make the situation worse by handling it on your own or hiring a lawyer who doesn’t regularly handle these cases.
To inform yourself, please read the various articles I have written on this and related topics. But do not let it replace the advice of attorney who is familiar with the law and your particular circumstances. If you have questions, please give us a call or leave us a message.