Baltimore CBP Seizes $44K in Unreported Currency

CBP in Baltimore has made another news release about currency seizures for currency reporting requirement violations conducted at their port. This time we have some visual support for the story:

Baltimore — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), at Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) seized $44,783 yesterday from a Nigerian man for violating federal currency reporting regulations.

The passenger, who arrived to BWI from London, United Kingdom and destined for Washington, D.C., repeatedly declared possessing only $5,000. While examining the passenger’s luggage, CBP officers discovered multiple envelopes wrapped in clothing that contained U.S. and foreign currency totaling the equivalent of $45,283.

Baltimore Cbp Seizes 44k Unreported Currency
There is no limit to how much currency travelers can import or export; however federal law requires travelers to report amounts exceeding $10,000 in U.S. dollars or equivalent foreign currency.

CBP officers seized $44,783 and returned $500 in U.S. currency to the passenger for humanitarian relief. CBP officers also advised the traveler how to petition for the return of his seized currency.

“Travelers who refuse to comply with federal currency reporting requirements run the risk of having their currency seized, and may potentially face criminal charges,” said Susan Thomas, Acting CBP Port Director for the Port of Baltimore. “The traveler was given multiple opportunities to truthfully declare his currency. The easiest way to hold on to your money is to report it.”

In addition to currency interdiction, CBP routinely conducts inspection operations on arriving and departing international flights and intercepts narcotics, weapons, prohibited agriculture products and other illicit items.


So many times I read this news releases and just wonder what people are thinking when they declare having a substantial amount of money, but not enough to put them over the reporting requirement. Like here the guy declares $5,000, but really he’s carrying over $45,000. Declaring a lesser amount than you are actually transporting does not mitigate the penalty for a seizure nor does it prevent Customs from seizing your money.  In certain circumstances, Customs can allow for human error and remit a seizure on site when the amount reported is not far off from what is actually being transported; but there’s no way a person can think that by reporting $5,000 when you’re actually carrying $40,000 more is going to give you any advantages. And by reporting $5,000, it seems highly likely that Customs is going to want to verify what you are telling them by taking you to a secondary inspection, going through your baggage, and counting what they find.

If you have money seized and receive a notice of seizure, do not decide how to respond to a CAFRA Notice without first consulting an attorney. Any mistake or error in judgment you make can cost you dearly.The Petition process is a legal process. The petition itself is and should always be a legal document, no different than in any other legal proceeding, that contains detailed factual narrative, what led to the seizure, a review of the relevant law, regulations and Custom’s own guidelines concerning the criteria for remission. When the facts allow for it, our Petition will always include a strong argument for return of the money in full, or even when there is a valid basis for the currency seizure, a strong argument for the money to be returned upon payment of a fine in the smallest amount of money possible, rather than forfeiture of all your money.

If you have had currency seized and are contemplating what to do next, please make use of the other information I make available on this website or call my office at (734) 855-4999 or e-mail us through ourcontact page. We are able to assist with currency seizures around the country, including Chicago, Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, Orlando and many other places, and not just locally in Detroit.