Almost $60,000 in cash stacked up and seized by Philadelphia Customs

Philly CBP Seizes $99K Smuggled Cash To Doha, Qatar

Customs at Philadelphia seized nearly $100,000 cash that was hidden inside the traveler’s personal effects on his way to Doha, Qatar. Here’s the story, below:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized more than $99,000 from a Palestine-bound U.S. family on Saturday at Philadelphia International Airport (PHL).

CBP officers conducted outbound enforcement operations on a Doha, Qatar-bound flight and encountered a man who verbally reported that he possessed $65,000. Officers provided a CBP form 503 to the traveler that explains federal currency reporting requirements, asked if he understood the law, and asked him to write down his currency amount on the form. The traveler wrote $65,000 and signed the form.

Officers then provided the traveler with an U.S. Treasury Department form (FINCEN 105) and the traveler documented that he possessed $65,000.

Officers initiated a baggage examination and discovered a total of $99,549 in the traveler’s pockets, in his jacket, and in two carry-on backpacks. Officers seized the currency, returned $5,000 for humanitarian purposes, and released the family.

CBP is not releasing the travelers’ names because none were criminally charged.

Has Philadelphia CBP seized your cash?

If Philadelphia CBP seized your cash, read our trusted customs money seizure legal guide and contact our customs lawyer for a free cash seizure consultation by clicking the contact buttons on this page.

A wad of cash left behind in an airplane seat, later seized by U.S. Customs & Border Protection

Baltimore CBP Seizes $82K in Cash from Traveler to Jamaica

Baltimore Customs officers seized cash from 4 men heading back to their native Jamaica for not reporting it; apparently, 3 of them were on the same flight. In that case, from the story below it sounds like two of the men made it onto the plane without filing the report.

A third man blew their cover, by telling the officers he was traveling with them.

The officers then entered the plane, found the other two men, and one of them had put his money into the pocket on the seat in front of him. It looks as though CBP is consider that bulk cash smuggling.

In all cases, the money was taken by CBP and seized. The men will have to respond to the notice of seizure in order to get their cash back, and prove the money came from a legitimate source, and had a legitimate intended use.

You can read the full story here.

BALTIMORE – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) continue to encounter travelers who refuse to comply with federal currency reporting laws after officers seized a combined $82,533 from four men, all heading to Montego Bay, Jamaica recently.

[ . . . ]

In the most recent case on August 6, CBP officers seized a combined $59,587 from three men, ages 34, 33 and 25. The men individually reported to CBP officers that they had $7,500, $8,000, and $8,500; however, CBP officers discovered that the men $18,522, $21,560, and $19,505, respectively.

CBP officers interviewed the first man and learned that he was traveling with the other two who officers asked to deplane the aircraft. Interestingly, CBP officers found one man’s unreported currency concealed in the seatback of his assigned seat.

Additionally, on August 4, CBP officers seized $22,946 from a 75-year-old man who told officers that he possessed $12,000.

CBP is not releasing the names of either man because none were criminally charged. All four men are naturalized U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents who were born in Jamaica.

“The disregard that some travelers have for our nation’s currency reporting laws is troubling and very unwise, especially when you consider that travelers can keep all their currency simply by just being honest and declaring the full amount to a Customs and Border Protection officer,” said Keith Fleming, Acting Director of Field Operations for CBP’s Baltimore Field Office.

CBP officers have observed that unreported currency can be proceeds from illicit activities, such as financial fraud and narcotics smuggling, and work hard to disrupt the export of these illicit revenues.

During inspections, CBP officers ensure that travelers fully understand federal currency reporting requirements and offer travelers multiple opportunities to accurately report all currency and monetary instruments they possess before examining a traveler’s carryon or checked baggage.

Have you had cash seized by Baltimore CBP?

If CBP Baltimore 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.

Detroit Field Offices 2020 Statistics

CBP Detroit Cash Seizures Decline by Nearly 60% in Pandemic

In fiscal year 2019 (October 2018 through October 2019), CBP seized $7.8 million in cash from (most unsuspecting) travelers at Detroit Metro Airport, the Ambassador Bridge, Detroit-Windsor Tunnel, and the Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron.

Last fiscal year (October 2019 through October 2020), however, CBP seized nearly 60% less than 2019! CBP seized only $4.6 million in cash in 2020. A marked decrease, likely due to the travel restrictions for basically 7 months of the entirety of the fiscal year. Here’s the story:

DETROIT — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) personnel operating at the multiple ports of entry throughout Michigan had an unprecedented year, with a 1,736 percent increase in seized marijuana and 227 percent increase in seized firearms amid public health concerns and restricted travel conditions related to the global Covid-19 pandemic.

The Detroit Field Office includes the Ambassador Bridge and Detroit Windsor Tunnel, the Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron, the International Bridge in Sault Ste. Marie, and Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

Drug enforcement operations at Michigan’s five ports of entry netted the following totals: 9,059 pounds of marijuana – a 1,726 percent increase when compared with last fiscal year; 211 pounds of cocaine, more than 1.5 pounds of methamphetamines; and a little more than 15 pounds of fentanyl.

A total of 203 firearms were seized – a 227 percent increase from last year – along with 5,334 rounds of ammunition.

The amount of undeclared currency seized totaled $4.6 million dollars.

A total of 225 individuals were arrested in Fiscal Year 2020 for reasons to include: narcotics smuggling, human smuggling, firearms violations, and fraud.

Finally, our Agriculture Specialists intercepted 2,010 pests. Their diligence and expertise is crucial in preventing foreign pests from causing harm to the agriculture industry.

“This past year the men and women of CBP worked through some of the most adverse conditions that we have ever asked them to work through especially here in Detroit,” said Christopher Perry, Director of Field Operations for CBP in Detroit. “I am simply amazed at how our officers steadfastly enforced the laws of the United States, while fostering our nation’s economic security through lawful international trade and travel during the greatest pandemic my generation has seen.”

We have noticed an uptick in seizure cases again as the pandemic wanes, and people get vaccinated and become more comfortable (and able) to travel. Fiscal year 2021, which began in October 2020 and ends on October 2021, will still be majorly affected by pandemic. Less travel means less cash seizures by CBP.

Has Detroit CBP seized your cash?

If CBP in Detroit 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.

 

Counterfeit Goods Seized by CBP Detroit

CBP Seizure for Online Counterfeit Purchases FAQ

CBP will detain, seize, and forfeit counterfeit goods that were purchased online and shipped to the United States. CBP sometimes will also issue a penalty for counterfeit seizures. We get way too many calls on this topic, and so we are publishing some frequently asked questions on the topic in the hope that it is useful. The law that prohibits importing counterfeit goods into the United States is 19 USC 1526. You can read details about the law here: Importing Counterfeit Trademarks – Customs Seizures & Penalties; Part 1

1. Customs detained or seized my internet purchase. I think the goods are fake (not genuine, counterfeit, etc). What happens next?

If Customs seizes your items, you should receive a notice of seizure in the mail. The notice of seizure will explain what your options are. You will have 30 days to file a petition or 35 days to make an offer in compromise.

2. Am I going to jail?

Although the importation of counterfeits is a crime, criminal prosecution for innocent internet purchases is very unlikely. The more products you import, the greater the value, the greater intent you have to sell or redistribute the goods (or the greater intent CBP can infer from your purchase and/or past activity), the more likely it would be that you would be criminally prosecuted. In other words, it would be extremely rare for you to get criminally charged if you are not trafficking in counterfeit goods.

3. Am I going to get a penalty?

Possibly. CBP guideline’s state that all counterfeit imports should be penalized, but in fact, that is not what happens. It can be hard to predict who will receive a penalty. Generally, the chance for a penalty increases for:

  • Commercial purchases
  • High quantity purchases (i.e., CBP could infer from the order that it was meant for re-sale)
  • High value purchases
  • Repeat violations

The above are just a few circumstances where we have seen counterfeit penalties issued, but there are cases where penalties are issued for reasons other than the above. Sometimes it can just come down to the decision of a Customs official to refer the matter for a penalty, and other times sometimes some ports are more aggressive than others about issuing penalties (ahem, Port of Mobile).

4. How will I know if I will get a penalty?

You will not know until you get it. A penalty comes in the mail, usually first class mail (i.e., not certified or registered mail), so it’s arrival is unassuming.

5. What should I do if I get a penalty?

If you get a penalty, you should file a petition for mitigation of penalty. You generally have 60 days from the date of the penalty notice to file the petition, asking that the amount be reduced. You should have a lawyer do this.

6. How long does it take for CBP to issue a penalty for counterfeits?

It could be weeks, months, or even years after the seizure before you receive a penalty. A penalty will come in the mail, typically only first class mail (not certified). CBP has 5 years to issue a penalty. However, the more time that passes after the 6 month anniversary of receipt of the notice of seizure, your the likelihood of receiving a penalty goes down.

7. Should I respond to the notice of seizure? Should I abandon the property?

If the goods are truly counterfeit, you will not get them back without consent of the trademark holder, or some miracle. There are probably pros and cons to either choosing to abandon the property (affirmning that you are interested in the goods and that you want them to be forfeited) and just ignoring the letter. Whatever you choose, it’s wise to save the letter.

8. I think my goods are genuine. What should I do?

If you believe your goods are genuine, you should probably request samples, have the product or samples analyzed, and either file a petition or a claim. You should consult with a lawyer.

9. I don’t want the goods, but I also want to take steps to make sure I don’t get a penalty. What should I do?

There is no easy answer to this question. The violation has already happened, and there may be little you can do to avoid a penalty now. You may think that by not responding at all that the chance of receiving a penalty will decrease. You may think that by responding and forcefully denying you had any intention to import counterfeit goods the chance of receiving a penalty will decrease.

To both hypotheticals above, the answer is: maybe.

There are pros and cons, risks and benefits, to both potential courses of action. But it’s difficult to predict which will help you avoid a penalty, and which will cause the penalty to be issued. Please refer back to #3 and #4, above.

10. I received a threatening letter from the trademark holder. What should I do?

First, understand what they’re asking you to do in the letter. Then, weigh the risk of responding, vs. not responding (see #8 above, as the same considerations apply). By responding, you may be admitting guilt and making a case against you far easier. However, by not responding, you may be losing a valuable opportunity to avoid further actions against you, such as litigation.

You should also know that the law requires CBP to notify the trademark holder that they seized merchandise the bears counterfeit marks on it. These trademark holders will often (as in the case of Apple, Bluetooth, Samsung, Louis Vuitton, etc) have a law firm send out letters whenever their is a seizure, no matter the value, as a means of protecting their brand and scaring you to not import counterfeit goods, and gain intelligence on who is producing them and how they are getting into the United States, so they can try to put a stop to it.

11. Will I get arrested? Are they going to seize my bank account? Is that person knocking at my door right now the police?

Just calm down. As explained in #2 above, most people won’t get arrested. Bank accounts don’t get seized until you’ve got a judgment against you (i.e., after arrest, conviction, and trial). The person knocking at your door probably is not the police (but in case it is, assert your constitutional right to silence!)

12. What’s the worse that can happen?

The worse is not likely, at least for most situations. The worst that could happen would be that the merchandise gets forfeited, get sued by the trademark holder, you get fined by CBP, criminally charged and thrown in jail, your spouse leaves you, and your children pretend you don’t exist. But as explained above, the worse probably will not happen.

13. Should I call you and discuss my case?

Probably not, especially if your purchase is less than $1,000 and you have not received a penalty. You should calm down and read the answers to the above questions. If you are interested in a consultation, we charge for any advice that is beyond the advice that is given here. Reach out to us if you would like a quote to provide you with advice, or filing a petition, or if you receive a penalty.

CBP Texas seizes $297K Cash at Del Rio

Recently, customs discovered a huge cache of cash when inspecting a vehicle heading into Mexico. The story, which comes to us out of Del Rio Texas, part of the Laredo sector, is detailed below.

The headline of the news release styles this as being “unreported” currency, however what this really is (in addition to being unreported) is bulk cash smuggling. As that link explains, bulk cash smuggling occurs when money is hidden with the purpose of evading the reporting requirement that requires an individual entering or leaving the country with more than $10,000 to file a report.

 U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Field Operations (OFO) officers working outbound operations seized over $297,000 in undeclared currency in a single enforcement action.

“CBP conducts outbound enforcement operations to protect against unreported exportations of bulk U.S. currency, which often can be proceeds from alleged illicit activity, or currency that funds transnational criminal organizations,” said Port Director Liliana Flores, Del Rio Port of Entry. “This currency seizure demonstrates an outstanding job by our officers.”

The enforcement action occurred on Wednesday, May 5 at the Del Rio International Bridge, when officers assigned to outbound operations selected a 2011 Chevrolet Cruze traveling to Mexico for a secondary examination. Upon physical inspection of the vehicle, packages containing $297,311 in unreported U.S. currency were discovered.

The currency was seized by CBP OFO officers. A 23-year-old male Mexican citizen passenger was arrested, and the case was turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) special agents for further investigation.

Individuals are permitted to carry any amount of currency or monetary instruments into or out of the U.S., however, if the quantity is more than $10,000, they will need to report it to CBP. “Money” means monetary instruments and includes U.S. or foreign coins currently in circulation, currency, travelers’ checks in any form, money orders, and negotiable instruments or investment securities in bearer form. Failure to declare may result in seizure of the currency and/or arrest.

Has Del Rio CBP seized your cash?

If Del Rio CBP has seized your cash, we urge you to call us for a consultation before considering doing it yourself. 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.

$201,585 in Unreported Currency Seized by CBP at Roma stacked in piles

CBP Officers Seize $201,585 in Unreported Currency at the Roma Port of Entry

I’ll give all my readers some free advice: if you have an extra $200,000 lying around, spend it inside the country — don’t take it across the border.

Why?

In today’s presentation of a CBP news release involving the misadventures of smugglers attempting to move cash across the border, we learn about a $201,585 which was seized in November 2020 as it was heading out to Mexico. Here’s the full story:

ROMA, Texas —U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at the Roma Port of Entry recently seized more than $200,000 in unreported currency concealed in a vehicle during an outbound examination.

“Our CBP officers are dedicated to stopping the movement of illegal contraband and unreported currency from coming in and out of ports of entry. Even in challenging times, it is clear that our officers are truly dedicated in carrying out their mission. Their hard work and expertise never goes unnoticed,” said Port Director Andres Guerra, Roma Port of Entry.

The seizure occurred on Wednesday, November 11, 2020 when CBP officers referred a 2013 Chevrolet 1500 for a secondary inspection.  With the utilization of a non-intrusive imaging system, CBP officers discovered $201,585 concealed within the vehicle.

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

It is not a crime to carry more than $10,000, but it is a federal offense not to declare currency or monetary instruments totaling $10,000 or more to a CBP officer upon entry or exit from the U.S. or to conceal it with intent to evade reporting requirements. Failure to declare may result in seizure of the currency and/or arrest. An individual may petition for the return of currency seized by CBP officers, but the petitioner must prove that the source and intended use of the currency was legitimate.

Has Texas CBP seized your cash?

If Texas CBP 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 their’ aggressive 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.

Bags of Money Seized by Texas CBP

CBP Texas Seizes $838,481 at Roma Texas

CBP officers in Texas prevented the attempted export of NEARLY ONE MILLION dollars in cash to Mexico, late last year. The money was driven in a vehicle by a U.S. citizen, and the money was concealed in the car. The story does not state that the driver was arrested, although it would be difficult to believe he was not.

ROMA, Texas —U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers Roma Port of Entry recently seized more than $838,000 in unreported currency concealed in a vehicle during an outbound examination.

The seizure occurred on Wednesday, October 7, 2020 when CBP officers referred a 2016 Chevrolet Colorado occupied by a male U.S. citizen for a secondary inspection.  With the utilization of a non-intrusive imaging system, CBP officers discovered $838,481 concealed within the vehicle.

CBP officers seized the currency. The case was turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) special agents 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.

$44000 Seized by Dulles CBP on Display

Dulles CBP Seizes $44,000 from Ethiopia Traveler

CBP officers at Dulles Airport their Washington DC, which happens to be part of the wider Baltimore Field office, seized almost $44,000 from a permanent resident and citizen of Cameroon who was traveling to Ethiopia.

As often happens, he was prompted to complete a currency reporting form after indicating that he possessed money. But, he only reported $10,000. Upon obtaining the false report, customs officers inspected his possessions and discovered that he actually possessed $43,000.

Here is the full story as contained in the news release:

STERLING, Va. –U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at Washington Dulles International Airport seized nearly $44,000 in unreported currency from an Ethiopia-bound traveler on Monday.

CBP officers inspected a traveler as he attempted to board his departing flight. The man, a Cameroon citizen and U.S. lawful permanent resident, reported that he possessed $10,000 and completed a financial reporting form. While examining the man’s carryon bag, CBP officers discovered $43,580. Officers seized $43,000 and returned $580 to the man as humanitarian relief. Officer released him to continue his travel.

Customs and Border Protection officers seized nearly $44,000 in unreported currency from an Ethiopia-bound traveler at Washington Dulles International Airport on October 5, 2020.

CBP is not releasing the man’s name since he was not criminally charged. An investigation continues.

My usual disclaimer about the difficulty of getting money back after a seizure at CBP Dulles applies. Anyone who has money seized at Dulles Airport can expect a long and arduous process which will include scrupulously documenting the source of the money, including the production of detailed financial records, explanations of particular deposits into one’s bank account, and of course, scrupulous documentation translated into English about the intended use of the money.

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’ aggressive 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.

Cash seized by Brownsville CBP displayed to reporters

CBP Texas Seizes $46,085 in Smuggled Cash at Brownsville

CBP officers in Texas are the frontline of the United States in its war against illicit trafficking of narcotics and the proceeds of the sale of narcotics. For this reason, the are skeptical of people who were traveling across the border with large amounts of cash, especially when it is hidden and not reported before discovery.

In a story that comes out of Brownsville Texas, last fall, CBP officers encountered a twenty-year-old Mexican citizen departing the United States from Mexico. As part of the outbound inspection, officers discovered a total of $46,085 hidden inside the vehicle.

This is a classic case of bulk cash smuggling. Bulk cash smuggling occurs whenever anyone with the intent to not report the money to U.S. Customs upon importer export, hides it in some way with the intention that it not be discovered or reported.

Here’s the full story:

BROWNSVILLE, Texas – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the Brownsville and Matamoros International Bridge Port of Entry seized $46,085 in bulk, unreported U.S. currency.

“CBP officers may conduct inspections before travelers leave the United States. This routine inspection led to this seizure and is a testament to the diligence and sense of duty our officers have when carrying out outbound inspections,” said Port Director Tater Ortiz, Brownsville Port of Entry.

The seizure took place on Thursday, Oct. 1, when CBP officers working at the Brownsville and Matamoros International Bridge encountered a 20-year-old male Mexican citizen from McAllen, Texas, as the driver of a gray 2012 Ford F-150, who was selected for an outbound inspection. CBP officers conducted a visual and physical search of the vehicle which resulted in the discovery of bulk undeclared U.S. currency totaling $46,085 hidden within the vehicle.

CBP officers seized the currency and the vehicle, arrested the traveler and turned him over to the custody of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents for further investigation.

The penalties for bulk cash smuggling are steep, even if the money is shown to be from a legitimate source and have a legitimate intended use. Moreover, the likelihood of criminal charges arising from the bulk cash smuggling at the Mexico border are greater than for a simple failure to report.

Has Brownsville CBP taken your cash?

If Brownsville CBP has taken your cash, please call our office at (734) 855-4999 to speak to a customs lawyer, or e-mail us through our contact page. We are able to assist with cash seized by customs around the country, including Chicago, Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, Orlando and many other places, and not just locally in Detroit.

An image of $3M in crisp bills stacked high in a cube in bundles

CBP San Diego Seized Unreported Smuggled Cash

CBP in San Diego has quite a few ports, including Calexico, Otay Mesa, Cross Border Xpress, San Ysidro, and Tecate. CBP seizes cash from travelers heading into and out of Mexico from the United States at each of them. A lot of the cash seized there is for innocent reasons, such as workers moving across the border with their savings, people traveling to invest in property in Mexico, medical procedures, etc. Many of these cash seizures by customs are for a simple failure to report.

Back in September, one of these money seizures made it into the CBP news release cycle, and I’m just now getting to posting about it here. In this particular story, a vehicle was heading to Mexico at Otay Mesa , when officers discovered currency hidden (probably bulk cash smuggling!) In a backpack wrapped in a black shirt. Here’s the full story:

SAN DIEGO — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized more than $90,000 in currency at the ports of entry along the California borders with Mexico, encompassing Andrade, Calexico, Otay Mesa, Cross Border Xpress, San Ysidro and Tecate.

From Sept. 21 to Sept. 27, CBP officers with the help of CBP K-9 teams intercepted numerous currency smuggling attempts heading south of the border into Mexico. CBP officers identified specific vehicles for inspection resulting in the discovery of unreported currency that was being smuggled out of the country.

“I can honestly say that teamwork played a big role after seeing the successful rate of interceptions,” said Anne Maricich, Director of Field Operations for CBP in San Diego. “Their enforcement efforts and experience are put to the test regularly and the results are phenomenal when the focus is to protect this country.”

One of the most significant seizures during this past week occurred Friday when CBP officers stopped a vehicle at Otay Mesa headed into Mexico.  CBP officers targeted a 2016 Cadillac CTS with two occupants. While searching the vehicle, officers discovered almost $51,000 of unreported currency hidden inside a baby backpack wrapped in a black shirt, located on floor of the front passenger side.  CBP officer seized the currency.

Has San Diego CBP seized your cash?

If San Diego CBP seized your cash at Otay Mesa, Calexico, or elsewhere, 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 their’ aggressive 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.