$3 million in cash bundled after a customs cash seizure

CBP Agents Seize $3 Million in St. Thomas

CBP agents in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, seized more than $3 million dollars and arrested the men involved. The story shares some interesting details, like the fact that the boat was equipped with 5 fuel tanks (so that the smugglers could spend more time at sea, if necessary) and that the duffle bag a GPS tracker in it (so that, if thrown overbaord, it could be more easily traced).

Here’s the story (originally here), with some noteworthy details in bold:

ST. THOMAS, Virgin Islands – U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Air and Marine Operations (AMO) agents intercepted a vessel with three men onboard entering Brewers Bay transporting more than $3 million inside duffel bags.

* * *

During the evening of April 22, Marine Interdiction agents (MIA) on patrol on a Interceptor vessel near the entrance to Brewer’s Bay, noticed a vessel approaching without its navigation lights illuminated.

The MIA’s initiated a stop of the vessel by engaging the blue lights. In response, the three occupants of the vessel began throwing duffel bags overboard before coming to a stop.

After the MIA’s boarded the vessel and detained the three occupants, . . . the agents recovered three duffel bags from the water that had been thrown overboard. A fourth duffel bag was discovered on the vessel. Agents estimate that the bags collectively contained at least $3 million dollars. One of the duffel bags was equipped with a GPS tracker. The vessel, which is registered in Puerto Rico, was outfitted with five fuel tanks.

300k-Cash-Seized-Laredo-CBP

CBP Seizes Over $300K in Currency at Brownsville

CBP in Brownsville intercepted over $300,000 in bulk cash that was being smuggled out of the United States and into Mexico. The story, quoted below, implies that money was hidden within the vehicle in 14 separate packages and the vehicle (a 2013 Dodge Durango, who cares?) was driven by a 36 year old man.

BROWNSVILLE, Texas—U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Office of Field Operations (OFO) officers at the Brownsville Port of Entry seized over $300,000 in undeclared currency while conducting enforcement operations.

On Friday, May 22, officers working outbound operations stopped a 2013 Dodge Durango driven by a 36-year-old man, citizen of the United States, traveling to Mexico and referred the man for inspection.  Upon physical inspection of the vehicle, CBP officers discovered 14 packages of undeclared currency in the amount of $306,601. The currency was seized by CBP.

“Exporting undeclared currency in excess of $10,000 can carry serious consequences,” said Port Director Tater Ortiz, Brownsville Port of Entry. “CBP readily upholds its national security mission and our officers are highly skilled to identify these violations and enforce the law.”

The man 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.

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$150,000 in bulk cash wrapped in bundles pictured on the on the roof of the vehicle from which the money was seized by U.S. Customs & Border Protection

CBP Seized $52k Currency in El Paso, Texas

CBP relates the seizure of $52,000, which was detected to be in the vehicle when the CBP equivalent of Scooby-Do sniffed it out (a currency detection canine), here’s the story (original here):

EL PASO, Texas — A significant currency seizure was made at the Stanton southbound bridge in downtown El Paso, with over $52,000 of unreported currency going southbound to Mexico.

The currency was found by a CBP currency detector dog that swept the vehicle resulting in a positive alert in the back seats of the 2002 Honda Civic.

It is not illegal to transport currency; however, currency over $10,000 must be reported. The subject and unreported currency were turned over to Homeland Security Investigations for prosecution.

I’m not sure why CBP decided to share detailed info about the car, but for those keeping track at home, here’s what a 2002 Honda Civic looks like:

2002 Honda CivicHas Texas CBP seized currency?

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Cash Seized by Laredo CBP

CBP Seizes $293K in Bulk Cash

CBP officers working the Eagle Pass, Texas, Port of entry made a huge bulk cash seizure on Mother’s Day weekend.

The seizure was $293,000 and it was being taken to Mexico by a 38 year old U.S. citizen. The story is classic bulk cash smuggling (watch an explanation of bulk cash smuggling). Here’s CBP’s rendition:

EAGLE PASS, Texas—U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Office of Field Operations (OFO) officers at the Eagle Pass Port of Entry seized undeclared currency totaling over $293,000 in one enforcement action.

“This seizure is a prime example of the great lengths our officers go to keep illicit contraband, including unreported currency, from being imported or exported from our country,” said Port Director Paul Del Rincon, Eagle Pass Port of Entry.

On Saturday, May 9th, officers engaged in outbound operations stopped a 2009 SUV driven by a 38-year-old male U.S. citizen traveling to Mexico for inspection.  Upon non-intrusive imaging and physical inspection of the vehicle and the driver’s personal belongings, officers discovered several packages of undeclared currency totaling over $293,000.

The currency and vehicle were seized by CBP.  The driver was arrested and turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) special agents for further investigation.

I’m not sure who wrote the story, but if I was that person’s editor I would ask. “Why do we need to know the SUV was made in 2009?” In any event, this is a huge seizure and no wonder the man was arrested.

Has CBP seized your bulk cash?

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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?

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$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?

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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?

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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.