Evidence bag full of seized cash by CBP Dulles

Dulles seizes $68k Cash to Nigeria via Cairo

At Dulles airport, CBP officers at Washington Dulles International Airport recently seized $68,000 cash involving a Nigeria-bound family.

The family, departing on a plane for Cairo, Egypt, underwent outbound inspections where CBP officers. The father, when asked, reported $10,000. But then CBP inspected their bags and found additional currency concealed in multiple envelopes, bringing the total to $68,216.

My guess is that the envelopes were money they were carrying for other people to their own families in Nigeria. Whenever anyone leans someone is “going back home” they will often give them an envelope of cash with instructions to give the money to someone, sometimes who they meet at the airport.

CBP took all but $216, allowing them to continue on their trip. The relevant parts of the story are quoted below:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers seized $68,000 in unreported currency from a Nigeria-bound family at Washington Dulles International Airport today.

There is no limit to how much currency or other monetary instruments travelers may bring to or take out of the United States. However, federal law [31 USC 5316] requires travelers to report all currency of $10,000 or greater to a CBP officer and complete U.S. Treasury Department Report of International Transportation of Currency or Monetary Instruments [FINCEN 105]. Read more about currency reporting requirements.

CBP officers conducted outbound inspections of passengers departing on a flight to Cairo, Egypt, when they encountered the family. Officers explained U.S. currency reporting laws and asked the family how much currency they had in their possession. The father reported that the family possessed $10,000 and signed the FINCEN 105 form formally reporting that amount.

During a subsequent inspection of the family’s carryon bags, CBP officers discovered currency in multiple envelopes, in addition to the currency that the family presented to the officers. The total currency amounted to $68,216.

Officers seized the currency and remitted $216 to the family as a humanitarian release. CBP officers released the travelers to continue their journey.

“Seizing a traveler’s currency is a very serious consequence, but one that can easily be avoided just by the traveler truthfully reporting to a Customs and Border Protection officer all of the currency they are taking with them,” said Marc E. Calixte, Area Port Director for CBP’s Area Port of Washington, D.C.

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.

Stacks containing $125,306 in unreported U.S. currency seized by CBP officers at Laredo Port of Entry.

CBP Laredo seizes $125K in smuggled cash

Last month, CBP officers in Laredo seized $125,000 in bulk cash smuggled out of the USA into Mexico. The story highlights the consequences of failing to report currency amounts exceeding $10,000 and engaging in bulk cash smuggling, both civil and criminal offenses that can result in currency seizure criminal jeopardy.

Unless as person is involved in other illegal activity (i.e., drug crimes, money laundering, etc) then it’s unlikely the person will face criminal charges for simply carrying or hiding more than $10,000. Most of our (more than 630) clients over the past 14 years have never faced criminal prosecution for their currency reporting violations.

They do, however, usually face a difficult bureaucracy, confusing procedures, differing options, and arbitrary denials quite regularly. We specialize in navigating this complex terrain and providing assistance. But first, let’s delve into the details of this recent seizure publicized by CBP:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Gateway to the Americas Bridge recently seized over $125,000 in unreported currency hidden within a passenger vehicle during an outbound examination.

“It is important to acknowledge the efforts of our CBP officers who continue to maintain law and order,” said Port Director Alberto Flores, Laredo Port of Entry.  “Currency seizures intercepted play a significant role in reinforcing border security and safeguarding communities from the threat of illicit activities.”

The seizure occurred on Monday, November 20 at the Gateway to the Americas Bridge when a CBP officer conducting outbound examinations selected a 2014 Chevrolet Malibu driven by a 36-year-old male U.S. citizen for examination. After initial inspection, CBP officers conducted an intensive physical examination and discovered a total of $125,306 in unreported currency hidden within the vehicle.

CBP officers seized the currency. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents arrested the driver and initiated a criminal investigation.

Have you had cash seized by CBP in Laredo?

If you’ve had cash seized CBP in Laredo, you can learn more about the process from 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.

Minneapolis CBP Seizes $26K Cash Bound for Vietnam

Here’s a Minneapolis CBP cash seizure story from earlier this year that I never had a chance to comment on, but I am overjoyed that it is FINALLY not involving Dulles CBP.

I’ve never represented a client with cash seizure case in Minneapolis. From what I remember, I’ve probably only had 2 leads I can remember in the past 14 years where some traveler has had something seized by CBP in Minneapolis. This tells me Minneapolis has a very low rate of cash seizure.

The story retold in this news release is common. The traveler reports having only $9,000 even though he had $26,000. If you’re going to lie to CBP, this is a bad way to lie. Why declare an amount suspiciously close to $10,000? Obviously, this alerts CBP that you are probably lying.

Another odd thing here is that the story says “the traveler admitted to the CBP Officer he was not aware of the requirements.” Wow, what an admission! How did CBP sweat that answer out of him??! And what’s it add to the story? If he was unaware of the requirements, obviously he would not accurately report what he was traveling with. And yet, CBP still seized the cash.

The original story is here, but here’s the important parts:

MINNEAPOLIS— On Monday, February 6, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) seized more than $26,000 from a passenger traveling to Vietnam.

CBP Officers encountered a passenger and inquired about his travel. The traveler reported he was traveling with $9,000.  During the baggage exam, the CBP officer discovered a total of $26,000.

The CBP Officer explained to the traveler that there is no limit to how much currency or other monetary instruments that can enter or leave the country, however, any amount over $10,000, requires the completion of a U.S. Treasury Department of International Transportation of Currency or Monetary Instruments form (FINCEN 105).  If not properly reported, it is subject to seizure under U.S. federal law [31 U.S.C. 5316].  In addition, travelers crossing U.S. borders are required to report all currency and other monetary instruments in their possession that exceeds $10,000 to a CBP officer.

The traveler admitted to the CBP Officer he was not aware of the requirements.  “International travelers must be truthful in reporting all currency in their possession to CBP officers when they arrive to or leave the United States,” said Augustine Moore, Area Port Director-Minnesota. “It is less painful to complete a simple form than it is to surrender all their currency for violating U.S. currency reporting laws.”

The consequences for violating U.S. currency reporting laws are severe; CBP officers can seize unreported currency, and travelers could potentially face criminal charges. An individual may petition for the return of seized currency but must prove that the source and intended use of the currency was legitimate.

“Customs and Border Protection wants to make clear that there is no limit to the amount of money that travelers may carry when crossing U.S. borders, we only ask that travelers be truthful with CBP officers and fully comply with federal currency reporting laws,” said LaFonda D. Sutton-Burke, Director of Field Operations, Chicago Field Office.

Have you had cash seized by CBP in Minneapolis?

If you’ve had cash seized CBP in Minneapolis, you can learn more about the process from 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.

Cash laying on a table seized by CBP Dulles

Dulles Seizes $130k in Unreported Currency from Travelers

Summer travel season is well underway, and that means so is CBP’s cash seizure machine is likewise well underway. CBP’s cash seizures, for failure to report cash, structuring, and bulk cash smuggling, all involve people entering leaving the country with more than $10,000, and in one way or another, not filing the FinCEN 105 form at all, or not filing it accurately. The way to report traveling with more than $10,000 is super easy!

Among ports of entry, CBP at Dulles airport in Sterling, Virginia (Washington, DC), is among the most prolific storyteller when it comes to highlighting enforcement activity for these cash reporting violations.

Their most recent story involves people leaving for Yemen, Egypt, Togo, and Ghana. Notably, the stories – except for the Ghana-bound man — are mostly about currency split between travelers, which could be a structuring offense. The Ghana-bound man, however, as shown in the photograph below, probably is going to be said to have smuggled the money (“bulk cash smuggling“). The interesting parts of the story are below:

STERLING, Va. – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers seized nearly $130,000 in unreported currency from four groups of departing international travelers recently at Washington Dulles International Airport.

[ . . . ]

In the most recent case, CBP officers seized $27,560 in unreported currency from a Yemen-bound family on Tuesday. The family reported that they possessed $9,500; however, CBP officers found additional currency split among family members.

CBP officers seized currency on consecutive days last week. On June 20, CBP currency detector dog Fuzz alerted to an Egypt-bound traveler who reported that he possessed $7,000. Officers discovered a total of $34,283 in unreported currency split among four family members. And on June 21, CBP officers seized $15,423 in unreported currency from a Togo-bound couple who reported $9,900 in currency.

On June 11, CBP officers seized $50,210 in unreported currency from a Ghana-bound man who reported that he possessed $45,000.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers recently encountered four groups of travelers departing on international flights at Washington Dulles International Airport who violated U.S. currency reporting laws. As a consequence, CBP officers seized a combined total of nearly $130,000 from the travelers. CBP urges travelers to be completely truthful with CBP officers during their departure inspection.
Officers sometimes discover unreported currency concealed inside travelers’ clothes like whith this Ghana-bound traveler.

In each case, CBP officers explained the currency reporting law and allowed the travelers multiple opportunities to truthfully report, both verbally and in writing, the total currency they are carrying.

Officers seized the currency and released the travelers.

CBP is withholding names because none of the travelers were criminally charged.

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.

Stacks of cash totaling $96,800 in unreported currency seized by CBP officers at Hidalgo International Bridge in Texas

CBP seizes $96K in cash at Hidalgo Bridge

The latest press release from CBP deals with a cash seizure for, among other things, bulk cash smuggling and a failure to report cash on FinCen 105 form, at the Texas-Mexico southern border. The full story is available here.

In this story, we continue to see the government’s odd fixation with reporting the details of vehicle the individual was driving — here, a maroon Chevrolet SUV. Enjoy!:

HIDALGO, Texas—U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Field Operations (OFO) at the Hidalgo International Bridge intercepted $96,800 in undeclared currency from a traveler heading to Mexico.

“CBP officers conduct outbound enforcement operations to protect against unreported exportations of bulk U.S. currency, which can often be proceeds from alleged illicit activity, or currency that funds transnational criminal organizations,” said Port Director Carlos Rodriguez, Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas Port of Entry.

On May 2, 2023, CBP officers conducting outbound enforcement operations at the Hidalgo International Bridge encountered a maroon Chevrolet SUV, driven by a 42-year-old male Mexican citizen traveling southbound to Mexico. A CBP officer referred the vehicle for further inspection. After physically inspecting the vehicle, officers discovered seven bundles of currency totaling $96,800 in various denominations concealed within a hidden compartment in the vehicle.

CBP OFO seized the currency and vehicle. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) arrested the driver and initiated a criminal investigation.

Have you had cash seized by CBP in Texas?

If you’ve had cash seized CBP in Texas, you can learn more about the process from 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.

Stacks totaling $198,902 in unreported cash seized by CBP in Texas

CBP Seizes $190K Cash at Pharr, Texas, bridge

If you’re going to Mexico with $198,902 and no plans to report it, you should probably take a toothbrush (so you can brush your teeth in jail) and a credit card for when you get out, because you’re going to lose the money and be accused of crimes.

That’s the lesson that should have been learned by this anonymous individual who attempting to take the nearly $200,000 from the United States to Mexico, for unknown reasons (but really, we all know it’s drug related, right?)

This story provides an opportunity to respond to a frequently asked question:

Question: “If I am traveling with money, do I need to bring proof of it being legal money?”

Answer: Generally, no, you don’t. You only need to fill out the FinCen 105 form if you are transporting (or causing to be transported) more than $10,000. But, that’s only going to get you out of a violation of the Currency and Monetary Instrument Reporting laws (Title 31).

If CBP still thinks you’re committing some other crime, like drug trafficking, money laundering, or something else, they can still seize the money (whether you filed a FinCen 105 form or not) because they think you’re doing something else wrong. If you have a criminal or arrest history significant for these types of crimes, the odds of seizure go up dramatically.

But, on to the text of the story from our friends in Pharr, Texas, at CBP:

PHARR, Texas—U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Field Operations (OFO) at the Pharr International Bridge intercepted $198,902 in undeclared currency from a traveler heading to Mexico.

“CBP officers conduct 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 Carlos Rodriguez, Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas Port of Entry.

On April 4, 2023, CBP officers conducting outbound enforcement operations at the Pharr International Bridge encountered a white Jeep driving southbound to Mexico. A CBP officer referred the vehicle for further inspection which included screening by a canine team. After physically inspecting the vehicle, officers discovered nine bundles of currency totaling $198,902 in various denominations concealed within the vehicle.

CBP OFO arrested the driver, seized the currency and vehicle, and the case remains under investigation by special agents with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Have you had cash seized by CBP in Texas?

If you’ve had cash seized CBP in Texas, you can learn more about the process from 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.

Stacks of bills containing $126,000 in unreported currency seized by CBP officers at Hidalgo International Bridge during an outbound examination.

CBP Seizes $126K at Hidalgo Port

CBP recently seized more than $125k from an individual heading to Mexico. The vehicles were found using “non-intrusive inspection” equipment (think x-rays) to locate 12 bundles of currency hidden within the vehicle. This then is a “bulk cash smuggling” seizure so more than just your average “I-swear-officer-that-I-have-$9,900 but-really-I-have-$11,000”-type airport reporting incident, which makes up a large volume of the cases nationally.

These kinds of cases are usually drug related, but the story does not say that the individual was arrested. You would expect an arrest if he was courier. Perhaps the story doesn’t go into that detail, or perhaps the person is somehow innocent (stranger things have happened). Here’s the whole cash seizure tale:

HIDALGO, Texas—U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Field Operations (OFO) at the Hidalgo International Bridge intercepted $126,000 in undeclared currency.

“CBP officers conduct 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 Carlos Rodriguez, Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas Port of Entry.

On March 22, 2023, CBP officers conducting outbound enforcement operations at the Hidalgo International Bridge encountered a green Nissan sedan driving southbound to Mexico. A CBP officer referred the vehicle for further inspection which included the use of utilizing non-intrusive inspection (NII) equipment. After physically inspecting the vehicle, officers discovered twelve bundles of currency totaling $126,000 in various denominations concealed within the vehicle.

CBP OFO seized the currency and vehicle, and the case remains under investigation by special agents with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Have you had cash seized by CBP?

If you’ve had cash seized CBP in Hidalgo, you can learn more about the process from 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.

4 gold bars seized by Customs on export

Gold Worth $67,830 Sezied by Cincinnati CBP

On March 9, CBP officers discovered that someone was shipping gold bars out of the country in a box which was declared only to contain clothing.

That’s a problem.

The gold should have been declared on the shipping paperwork. And they exporter should have filed Electronic Export Information (EEI) in the government’s Automated Export System (AES).

Because they did neither of these things, the gold was seized. No doubt, the gold was seized for export contrary to law and probably, in the future, the involved person will receive a penalty for failure to file the EEI in the AES. So the seizure of the gold is not likely to be the only penalty.

There would be no duties owed if the gold was declared, because there are no export tariffs. A FinCen 105 form is not required because the gold is not a monetary instrument (although some minted coins are…). So what’s the point of the EEI filing?

Well, apart from giving “big brother” a sneak peak into your life, the primary reason is to ensure export laws are not violated and restricted or prohibited items are not being exported to restricted or prohibited countries or persons (i.e., sanctioned nations or sanctioned people).

Here’s an excerpt from the original story:

CINCINNATI—On March 9, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers stationed at the Port of Cincinnati seized an outbound shipment declared as containing clothing after they discovered it also contained loose gold and gold bars worth far more than the declared value of $125 USD.

Officers selected the shipment for an x-ray exam while conducting routine inspections on cargo exported from the United States to international destinations. After noting density anomalies during the x-ray screening, officers opened the shipment and found four gold bars and a box of loose gold concealed within articles of clothing. The package originated from an apartment in San Francisco, California and was headed for an address in Kowloon, Hong Kong.

Cincinnati officers . . . confirmed the gold was approximately 98% pure, leading import specialists . . . to assess the value of the shipment at $67,830.

[ . . . ]

CBP is responsible for ensuring that all goods entering and exiting the United States do so in accordance with all applicable U.S. laws and regulations. Exporters must file electronically through CBP’s Automated Export System if the value of their goods exceeds $2,500 USD. Failing to file or filing misleading export information can incur civil or criminal penalties and prosecution.

Have you had exports seized by CBP?

If you have had exported goods seized by CBP, you should give us a call at 734-855-4999, or use the contact and WhatsApp links on this page to reach out to an experienced customs lawyer in writing.

Customs Police Dog and Seized cash displayed on table

Dulles CBP Seizes over $350k Cash in 14 Violations

What is newsworthy about Customs seizing money at Dulles airport? Not much, really, except when it happens so frequently that even CBP begins thinking, “What’s up with all the cash seizures?”

Thus we are brought to the latest release from CBP in Dulles, wherein CBP tells the tale of the 14 cash seizures that occurred since January 15 through February 15.

The story, with some details below, explains that 6 of the violations were discovered because of a K9 police dog alert to the presence of cash, and that most of the travelers were heading to Africa.

Why so much money going to Africa? There is a large African ex-pat community in the DC area, and many carry money back home for others to support family or medical needs, for business concerns in Africa, and also, to take cash for building projects (homes).

Without further ado, here’s the story:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers are facing an alarming trend of travelers violating U.S. currency reporting laws after officers seized $350,918 in unreported currency since New Year’s Eve from 14 groups of international travelers at Washington Dulles International Airport.

Thirteen of the seizures with a combined total of $327,304 in unreported currency occurred since January 15.

Thirteen unreported currency seizures were from travelers departing the United States; one seizure involved travelers arriving to the United States.

Twelve (12) unreported currency seizures were recorded on travelers destined to Africa. One additional outbound and the lone inbound seizure occurred on travelers departing to or arriving from Asia. All seizures remain under investigation.

Nearly half (six) of the seizures started with an alert by CBP currency detector dog Fuzz, a three-year-old yellow Labrador.

None of the travelers were criminally charged and were released to continue their travel.

* * *

“The overwhelming majority of travelers fully comply with our nation’s laws, and we appreciate that. But this trend is very unfortunate and unexplainable considering that people may legally travel from and to the U.S. with as much currency they would like and all they need to do is simply report what they have to a Customs and Border Protection officer upon arrival or prior to departure from the United States,” said Kim Der-Yeghiayan, Acting Area Port Director for CBP’s Area Port of Washington, D.C.

You can read more about the consequences for violating the U.S. currency reporting laws, which include seizure, criminal charges, not to mention, the embarrassment of seeing your money seized, treated like a criminal, and the further problems of missing your flight and interrupting vacation plans.

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.

Renewed China Tariff/Section 301 Exclusions thru September 2023

Section 301 Exclusions

The U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) announced announced it has extended exclusions which were set to expire on December 31, 2022 through September 30, 2023. This extension applies to 352 exclusions. This was previously referenced on a blog post here: Renewed China Tariff/Section 301 Exclusions March 2022.

The reinstated exclusions are available for any product that meets the description in the product exclusion set out in the digit Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) subheadings and product descriptions in the Annex to the Federal Register notice.

We File Protests for Section 301 Duty Refunds

If you need to file protests to get refunds of Section 301 duties, Great Lakes Customs Law can help. We’ve filed protests thousands of entries over the years, and have been successful in getting our clients refunds for Section 301 duties through protest exclusions. We are happy to discuss your needs, the level of organization required to successfully obtain refunds, and provide some transparent pricing for our services. Please contact us to speak to Jason Wapiennik, customs attorney.