Cash Hidden Inside Envelope Seized on Export by CBP

CBP Miami Intercepts Money Exports

CBP Miami made some significant cash seizures in outbound cargo shipments, which in this case were heading toward Costa Rica.

Just as it is illegal to hand-carry more than $10,000 out of the country without reporting it on form Fincen 105, so too is it illegal to ship it out of the country without reporting it.

In this case, one packaged contained $29k, and the other $19k. Both were destined for Costa Rica.

Here’s the story:

MIAMI – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers had a busy week seizing … money attempted to be exported from the United States through Miami International Airport (MIA).

Last week, CBP officers assigned to the Outbound Enforcement Team at MIA intercepted … $48,000.00 in US currency, in different outbound shipments of cargo.

The shipments of contraband originated from the eastern region of the U.S. and were destined to …. Costa Rica.

      • On May 15, officers seized $29,000.00 in US Currency. The cash was concealed within magazines and parcels destined for Costa Rica. 
      • On May 15, officers seized $19,000.00 in US Currency in a second shipment. The cash was concealed within magazines, book and documents also destined for Costa Rica.

“The outbound cargo environment in Miami is the gateway to the Caribbean and South America, in which criminal enterprises attempt to use transportation routes traffic drugs, guns and money,” said Christopher D. Matson, CBP Port Director at Miami International Airport. “CBP’s Outbound Enforcement Team continues to conduct outbound sweeps of cargo resulting in significant seizures that disrupt dangerous criminal networks.”

CBP officers screen international travelers and cargo and search for illicit narcotics, unreported currency, weapons, counterfeit consumer goods, prohibited agriculture, and other illicit products that could potentially harm the American public, U.S. businesses, and our nation’s safety and economic vitality.

Has CBP seized your money?

Has CBP seized your money? If so, we can help. Read our helpful customs money seizure legal guide (or watch the videos) and contact us for a free currency seizure consultation by clicking the contact buttons on this page.

$55000 Cash Seized in Laredo

Laredo CBP Seizes $55k

Laredo CBP seized $55,000 being taken from the United States to Mexico on May 3rd. This, despite the border being closed to all but non-essential travel due to the coronavirus pandemic. Here’s the story, which is light on details except they specify the van they were driving… why, I don’t know. But here’s a picture of a 2007 Ford E35 van, to give the story some more context:
2007 Ford E35 Van

LAREDO, Texas—U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Office of Field Operations (OFO) officers at the Juarez-Lincoln Bridge intercepted … currency [on Sunday, May 3rd].

“CBP conducts enforcement operations to protect against the … unreported exportations of bulk currency,” said Port Director Gregory Alvarez, Laredo Port of Entry. “These interceptions exemplify CBP’s commitment to stop the illegal importation and exportation of contraband.”

* * *

On Sunday, May 3rd, officers conducting outbound operations stopped a 2007 Ford E35 van for inspection. Upon physical inspection of the vehicle, packages containing $55,000 of undeclared currency were discovered. The vehicle and currency were seized by CBP.

Has Laredo CBP seized your money?

Has Laredo CBP seized your money? If so, we can help. Read our helpful customs money seizure legal guide (or watch the videos) and contact us for a free currency seizure consultation by clicking the contact buttons on this page.

$12,000 Stacked on Steel Table Seized by CBP Laredo

CBP Laredo Seizes $12,000 Heading to Mexico

CBP in Texas, this time in Laredo, Texas, seized $12,031 from a person walking into Mexico.

They call the unreported, and possibly smuggled cash, contraband. This is true; although carrying money into or out of the country is not illegal, not reporting more than $10,000, smuggling it (hiding it), or structuring it (dividing it), is illegal. Thus, because the money is involved in this violation, it becomes contraband because it is illegally imported or exported.

Here’s part of news release:

LAREDO, Texas—U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Office of Field Operations (OFO) officers at the Laredo Port of Entry seize contraband … while conducting enforcement operations.

On Thursday, May 7, officers working outbound operations stopped a pedestrian traveling to Mexico for inspection.  Upon physical inspection of the pedestrian’s personal belongings, officers discovered packages of undeclared currency in the amount of $12,031. The currency was seized by CBP.

There is no indication in the story that the person was arrested, only that they were under investigation.

Has CBP seized your currency?

Has CBP seized your currency? If so, we can help. Read our helpful customs money seizure legal guide (or watch the videos) and contact us for a free currency seizure consultation by clicking the contact buttons on this page.

Stacks of bills totaling $16,152 in unreported currency seized by CBP officers at Eagle Pass Port of Entry.

Texas CBP Seizes $12k Currency Outbound to Mexio

If it wasn’t for the CBP currency seizures in Texas, lately, I would have no cash seizure to write about and comment on. Thus, today I write about another Texas CBP currency seizure, and again it is at the Eagle Pass port of entry, this time at the Camino Real Bridge. The CBP news release details a couple of enforcement incidents, but our focus is on the seized currency.

In this story, two male Mexican citizens traveling together carried (and thus had seized) $12,247 in “unreported currency.” When two people travel together and have money seized, we usually see Customs aggregating the currency they travel with together and then accusing them (and questioning them, often aggressively) about how “they divided the money” to not have to report it.

To give an example, in this case it’s possible the $5,000 belong to one of the guys, and the other $7,000 belonged to the second guy. When stopped by CBP and asked if they are traveling with currency, the men will respond:

“I have $5,000, and my friend has $7,000.” At this point, it’s very likely they will have their money seized because CBP has no way of knowing if you’re telling the truth and the money really belongs to both people, and not just one person who has structured (i.e., divided) the money so he does not have to report it.

I did a video that probably explains it a little better, watch it here.

That’s how it probably all happened. But here’s the story:

EAGLE PASS, Texas—U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Field Operations (OFO) interdicted a steady stream of undeclared currency, firearms and ammunition this week in four enforcement actions at the Eagle Pass Port of Entry.

“Our frontline officers continue to demonstrate the effectiveness of blending inspection skills and experience with the use of technology in these enforcement actions,” said Port Director Paul Del Rincon, Eagle Pass Port of Entry.

* * *

On Wednesday, April 29, 2020, CBP officers inspected a 2008 Saturn Astro XR traveling outbound at the Camino Real Bridge driven by a 35-year-old male Mexican citizen accompanied by a 45-year-old male Mexican citizen. During the inspection officers discovered $12,247 of unreported currency. The undeclared money was seized and both subjects were arrested and turned over to Maverick County Sheriff’s Office for further investigation.

Has Texas CBP seized currency?

Has Texas CBP seized currency? If so, we can help. Read our helpful customs money seizure legal guide (or watch the videos) and contact us for a free currency seizure consultation by clicking the contact buttons on this page.

Counterfeit Goods Seized by CBP Detroit

Detroit CBP Seizes $400k in Counterfeits

CBP Detroit seized counterfeit merchandise at the Fort Street Cargo Facility in the last few days. The headline and the tweet sent out by DFO Perry says that it’s “nearly $400k” worth of goods, but probably that is the MSRP (manufacturer’s suggested retail price); so it’s unlikely that is the price actually paid for the merchandise by the importer.

Here’s the tweet:

What can the importer expect? If they they are truly counterfeit, they will not be released/returned to the importer. And, if they are truly counterfeit, they should be nervous about the possibility of receiving a $400,000 penalty from customs. CBP penalties for trademark violations are based on the MSRP value of the goods, not the transaction value (price paid or payable).

Here’s the rest of the story:

DETROIT— U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) intercepted nearly $400,000 in counterfeit textiles and electronic merchandise at the Fort Street Cargo Facility.

On May 18, multiple purported Bluetooth products to include headphones, valued at approximately $325,000; smart bands, valued at approximately $59,000; various speakers, valued at more than $4,000; and Star Wars hats, valued at nearly $10,000, were discovered when officers and import specialists selected the shipment for an enhanced inspection.

Closer examination of the intended imports, which originated from China, revealed the branding and overall quality of the articles were not consistent with genuine products. Additionally, the electronic goods were not registered with Bluetooth.

The counterfeit goods were subject to various intellectual property rights violations and ultimately seized.

“The importation of counterfeit merchandise poses a significant risk to the vitality of the U.S. economy, our national security and the health and safety of the American people,” said Devin Chamberlain, Port Director. “Our enforcement efforts at the border protect the integrity of private industry, while maintaining the inventory of safe, quality goods for the end user in the U.S.”

CBP may issue civil fines to violators and, where appropriate, refer cases to other agencies for criminal investigation.

What if I get a penalty from CBP?

If you get a penalty from CBP, you should definitely file a petition for mitigation of the penalty. You could get a substantial reduction in the penalty amount through mitigation offered by the Fines, Penalties and Forfeitures Office. We have a lot of experience of getting great results for clients on their CBP penalty cases, including substantial reductions and even some cancellations. You can see some history of our success is HERE.

Of course, results will vary from case to case, and no result could be guaranteed. Customs has maintains a list of mitigating factors and aggravating factors that it looks for, and which should part of the argument and analysis of any petition that is filed for them; without a careful and thoughtful analysis of those factors that customs looks for, you may end up pay more than necessary.

If you have had your merchandise seized or have received a notice of penalty from customs, call our office at (734) 855-4999 to speak to a customs lawyer about the possibility of getting your penalty reduced, or e-mail us through our contact page. We are able to assist petitions and in penalty cases by customs

Stacks of bills totaling $16,152 in unreported currency seized by CBP officers at Eagle Pass Port of Entry.

Texas CBP Seizes $12k from Old Man’s Boot

CBP Texas seized $12,030 from a 69 year-old U.S. citizen who was heading to Mexcio. The money he carried was “hidden in his right boot” and the man was arrested and turned over to local law enforcement for investigation. Thus, the title of this post.

To be sure, failing to report money and bulk cash smuggling are crimes. In this case, hiding money in your boot and not reporting it to Customs is a crime. However, in my experience (which is limited to the client’s I’ve had), bulk cash smuggling does not result in an arrest but only an enhanced penalty.

Therefore, it is my hope that this elderly man was up to no good (i.e., carrying money on behalf of the cartels) and not just an old man who was trying to keep his money in a safe place as he headed into the criminal uncertainties of Mexico.

EAGLE PASS, Texas—U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Field Operations (OFO) interdicted . . . a total of $12,030 in undeclared currency … at [the] Eagle Pass Port of Entry.

On April 19, CBP officers inspected a 2013 Chevy Express van traveling outbound at the Camino Real Bridge along with the passengers. During the physical inspection of a 69-year-old male United States citizen, officers discovered $12,030 of unreported currency hidden within his right boot. The undeclared money was seized and the subject was arrested and turned over to Maverick County Sheriff’s Office for further investigation.

Has Texas CBP seized your money?

Has Texas CBP seized your money? If so, we can help. Read our helpful customs money seizure legal guide (or watch the videos) and contact us for a free currency seizure consultation by clicking the contact buttons on this page.

Stacks of bills totaling $163,130 in unreported currency seized by CBP officers at Hidalgo International Bridge

Texas CBP Seizes $214K in Undeclared Cash

Below is a report by Texas CBP of seizure of cash leaving outboun to Mexico, which was seized from a 23-year-old Mexican national. The young man had $214,000 hidden in his vehicle, and what surely will prove to be a classic case of bulk cash smuggling (bulk cash smuggling is when money is hidden with the intent of not reporting it to CBP).

From our own experience, CBP in states like Texas and California seem to be more active in seizing cash than the Northern states where CBP is operating. This although the U.S.-Mexico border is closed to non-essential travel through June 22, and the U.S.-Canada border until June 21.

Here is the story:

HIDALGO, Texas—U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Field Operations (OFO) at the … Anzalduas International Bridges intercepted … $214,000 in unreported U.S. currency … [at the end of February 2020].

* * *

The currency seizure occurred on Feb. 21 after CBP officers assigned to the Anzalduas-Reynosa International Bridge performing outbound inspections selected a silver 2018 Kia Forte driven by a 23-year-old from Guadalajara for further inspection. A thorough secondary examination resulted in officers discovering 18 bundles of U.S. currency totaling $214,000 hidden within the car.

The story ends by stating that the CBP Office of Field Operations (OFO) seized the currency and the vehicle in the failed smuggling attempts. The men were also arrested.

Have you had cash seized by Texas CBP?

If you have had cash seized by Texas CBP, we can help. Read our trusted customs money seizure legal guide or can contact us for a free currency seizure consultation by clicking the contact buttons on this page.

CBP Seizes $45k Currency and Vehicle in Laredo

Though money seizures from traveler’s have slowed at the nation’s airports due to the pandemic, such is not the case at our nation’s land-borders, especially with Mexico. As an example, today we bring our customs law blog’s audience Customs seizure of $45,000 in unreported cash heading to Mexico about a month ago. The story was also picked up by Breitbart (why this run-of-the-mill seizure merited their attention I can only guess).

In this case, not only the currency was seized, but also the vehicle. The people involved were not arrested, however. The seizure of the vehicle might mean that they suspect more was going on than just some people traveling with cash that they did not want to report; it could also be seized because it is what the cash was smuggled inside of… that is called bulk cash smuggling.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Field Operations (OFO) officers working outbound operations seized over $45,000 in undeclared currency in a single enforcement act over the weekend.

“CBP’s national security mandate is complex, ranging from Anti-Terrorism to more traditional counter drug operations,” said Port Director Gregory Alvarez, Laredo Port of Entry. “This seizure of $45,157 is a direct reflection of our continuous commitment to enforce federal currency reporting requirements.”

On Friday, April 11, officers assigned to outbound operations referred a 2020 Toyota Avalon traveling to Mexico for examination. Upon physical inspection of the vehicle and subject’s personal belongings, packages containing $45,157 of undeclared currency were discovered. The vehicle and currency were seized by CBP.

The vehicle was seized and the case was turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) special agents for further investigation.

Has Laredo CBP seized your cash?

If CBP in Laredo has seized your cash, you need a lawyer. Read our trusted customs money seizure legal guide and can contact us for a free currency seizure consultation by clicking the contact buttons on this page.

Dulles CBP Seize Cash from South Korean Woman

Back in February, when life in the United States was normal and people were still travelling, Dulles seized around $11,000 from a South Korean woman who was arriving in the United States. That story follows:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized . . . unreported currency from a traveler at Washington Dulles International Airport during the weekend.

A South Korean woman, who is a U.S. lawful permanent resident, reported to CBP officers that she possessed $500. Officers explained currency reporting requirements to the woman and she amended her declaration to report that she had $6,000. During a baggage examination, CBP officers discovered a total of $11,097 in her baggage. CBP officers seized all the currency and released the woman. She arrived on a flight from Seoul on Sunday.

It is legal to carry large sums of currency into 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. Read more about currency reporting requirements.

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.

Has Dulles CBP seized your cash?

If Dulles CBP has seized your cash, we urge you to call us for a consultation before considering doing it yourself. You probably will not be happy with the outcome if you do, based on Dulles’ aggresive posture in most cases. Read our trusted customs money seizure legal guide (or watch the videos) and can contact us for a free currency seizure consultation by clicking the contact buttons on this page.

U.S. Customs & Border Protection Officer's uniform, featuring the seal of the agency.

Top 10 things to know after a U.S. customs (CBP) money seizure

1. You should expect a CAFRA notice of seizure.

After a customs money seizure, you should expect to receive a CAFRA notice of seizure in the mail. This is different from the custody receipt for seized property you you should’ve received.

2. U.S. Customs is only required to “send” a notice of seizure in 60 days most of the time.

After the U.S. customs seizes money they must send a notice of seizure. In most cases, CBP is not required to confirm it was received, only that it was sent.

3. If CBP sends the notice of seizure and you don’t get it, or its late, your case will suffer.

Someone who has had customs seize cash usually has 30 days from the date on the CAFRA notice of seizure to respond to get money back administratively, or 35 days to take the case to court by filing a CAFRA seized asset claim form. If you do not receive the notice of seizure from Customs, the clock to respond and get your seized cash back from customs is still ticking. Waiting passively for CBP to send the CAFRA notice of seizure will jeopardize your case.

4. You can choose how your case will be handled through an election of proceedings form.

An election of proceedings form is enclosed with the notice of seizure. You must choose an option, sign and return the form as directed to contest your cash seizure case with customs. You should get a free currency seizure consultation before deciding how to proceed to get seized cash back from CBP.

5. Your case will go to court only if you or CBP seeks judicial forfeiture.

Typically the only way you can get your customs money seizure case before a judge is by properly filing a CAFRA seized asset claim form that is signed by you. The detailed instructions for this step are in the notice of seizure and the election of proceedings form.

6. An administrative petition for return of seized cash isn’t an apology letter or explanation.

If you choose to file an administrative petition for returned of seized cash it should not be in the form of an apology letter or explanation to Customs. A notice of seizure is a legal document and requires a legal response. If you admit to a crime or violation there is no way to take it back. If CBP chooses to criminally prosecute you, you will not be able to say you are innocent.

7. You must prove the money was legal.

Whatever election of proceedings option you select, you will have to prove the money seized by CBP was legal and came from a legitimate source. This is most typically done by including supporting documents like affidavits, tax returns, contracts, profit and loss sheets, bank statements, tax returns, business registration certificates, and proofs of employment or income with the administrative petition (if chosen as the option). Be careful not to undershare or overshare with Customs, or accidentally or unknowingly disclose other violations of the law.

Even if you prove the cash seized by CBP was from a legitimate source, you also have to prove that it was going to be used for a legal purpose. This can be a trip itinerary, proof of expenses, medical bills, leases, and other documents.

8. You must be patient; processing times vary by port, sometimes taking a year or more.

If you choose an administrative petition, offer in compromise, or claim, the process can take very long; sometimes a year or more. Doing everything right the first time helps prevent unnecessary delays.

9. Statements made to CBP can be used against you.

It is likely that when you were detained by CBP after the money seizure that you were read your “Miranda rights” and told that you had the right to remain silent. Any statements you made before you were detained and after you were detained and read your rights can be used against you.

10. You may be charged with a crime.

Failure to report cash to customs, structuring cash transactions, and bulk cash smuggling all carry with them civil and criminal penalties. You can be charged either civilly, criminally, or both.