Texas CBP Seized $100,000 in Smuggled Cash

A few months back, CBP in Texas seized $100,000 in bulk cash that was taped a a pedestrian’s body as he was leaving the United States for Mexico. Here’s what that looks like:

I did not catch this story as a news release from CBP, but it was a story that ran in the local paper (read it here). Here’s the story:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers seized $101,924 strapped to a 19-year-old man heading to Mexico on the Zaragoza Bridge in El Paso’s Lower Valley.

CBP officials said the cash smuggling attempt was detected Tuesday afternoon by officers checking Mexico-bound traffic who picked the man for an inspection.

The money was in $100, $50 and $20 bills inside plastic bags strapped to the young man’s chest and back underneath his shirt, CBP said. The cash was seized and an investigation continues.

Under federal law, travelers can carry any amount of money but must report amounts over $10,000 to CBP at the time of departure or arrival, officials said.

Bulk shipments of cash smuggled into Mexico are often drug-trafficking proceeds, law enforcement officers have said.

“CBP officers are working hard to stop the illegal movement of guns, ammunition and unreported currency,” CBP Ysleta Port Director Arnie Gomez said in a statement. “Travelers who do not follow federal currency reporting requirements run the risk of losing their currency and may potentially face criminal charges.”

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.

CBP canine Cato sits next to table full of seized money.

Dulles CBP seized cash again; when is a violation of 31 USC 5316 complete?

Here’s a story about a man who had $43,409 in cash seized by customs at Dulles Airport. I’m going to use the story, which follows, to illustrate appoint about when a violation of the reporting requirement occurs.

The Dulles CBP officers seized cash as the man went to board a plane to Brussels. At this point, the violation of 31 U.S.C. § 5316 occurred. The man was getting on the plane without any intent to make a report of cash; he had to be asked. Even if he truthfully responded that he had exactly $43,409, the violation would already be completed his money could still be seized because he obviously had no intention to do what the law required; make a physical report of the cash at the time of departure.

Here’s the full news release:

STERLING, Va. – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized more than $43,000 from a Belgium-bound man on Sunday at Washington Dulles International Airport.

CBP currency detector dog Cato alerted to the man as he prepared to board his flight to Brussels. The man verbally reported to CBP officers that he possessed $15,000, then admitted to possessing $37,000 as officers prepared to examine his baggage. The man completed a FINCEN105 reporting $37,000. During that baggage exam, officers discovered a combined $43,409 in U.S. currency. Officers seized the currency and released the man.

CBP is not releasing the man’s name because he was not criminally charged.

CBP canines are highly skilled at a variety of detection specialties, such as narcotics, firearms, humans, agriculture, and currency.

“Customs and Border Protection’s canines are a vital component to our border security mission and demonstrate their exceptional skill every day to help enforce our nation’s laws and keep us safe,” said Keith Fleming, Acting Director of Field Operations for CBP’s Baltimore Field Office.

Although there is no limit to the amount of money that travelers may carry when crossing U.S. borders, federal law [31 U.S.C. 5316] requires that travelers report currency or monetary instruments in excess of $10,000 to a CBP officer at the airport, seaport, or land border crossing when entering or leaving the United States. Read more about currency reporting requirements.

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.

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. CBP seized about $386,000 every day in unreported or illicit currency along our nation’s borders last year. Learn more about what CBP accomplished during “A Typical Day” in 2020.

An individual may petition for the return of seized currency, but the petitioner must prove that the source and intended use of the currency was legitimate.

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.

$140k in Cash Bundles seized by CBP Laredo

CBP Laredo Seizes $140K Cash

CBP officers in Laredo discovered and seized $140,000 cash hidden in the suitcase of a 26 year-old Mexican national who was leaving the United States for Mexico. In this case (unlike most of my cash seizure clients), the individual was arrested.

Although every failure to report cash is itself a criminal offense, it is very rare overall that someone is arrested and criminally charged for a failure to report. In my estimation, if suspects you are up to some criminal activity beyond the failure to report or smuggle cash (i.e., using it to buy/sell drugs), then you are far more likely to be arrested.

And again, why does every US-Mexico border story tell us what kind of vehicle was involved? Not relevant, and a little weird, but it was a 2014 Volvo bus.

Here’s the full story:

LAREDO, Texas – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Field Operations (OFO) officers working outbound operations seized over $140,000 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 Acting Port Director Eugene Crawford, Laredo Port of Entry. “This seizure is a direct reflection of our continuous commitment to enforce federal currency reporting requirements.”

The enforcement action occurred on Saturday, February 13th, when officers assigned to outbound operations selected a 2014 Volvo bus traveling to Mexico for inspection. A 26-year-old male Mexican citizen passenger was referred for a secondary examination. Upon physical inspection of the subject’s personal belongings, packages containing $140,750 in undeclared currency were discovered.

The currency was seized by CBP. The subject 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.

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.

Piles of cash seized by CBP at Detroit Metro Airport

CBP Detroit Seizes $60K Headed to Amsterdam

Customs officers at Detroit Metro Airport seized more than $60,000 from a woman who was traveling to Amsterdam, who reported having only $1,000 but in fact had more than $60,000 concealed in a bag of women’s “Always” ultra-thin menstrual pads.

Customs in Detroit is, as far as I can tell, always one of the leading ports across in terms of enforcement of the currency reporting violations, even though it’s not widely ‘advertised’ through Customs news releases. For instance, Dulles airport does not have nearly the volume of cash seizures as Detroit, yet Dulles is always in the news.

Here’s the story about the Detroit cash seizure:

ROMULUS, Mich. – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Field Operations Officers at Detroit Metropolitan Airport, conducting outbound enforcement operations encountered a female passenger headed to Amsterdam on February 3 with more than $60,000 in undeclared U.S. currency.

The female passenger initially reported to CBP officers conducting outbound examinations, she was only carrying $1,000. During an inspection of her baggage, Officers found bundles of cash inside envelopes, concealed in packaging used to house sanitary napkins. Officers seized the money as a result of the passenger violating currency reporting requirements.

“CBP enforces these regulations to combat money laundering or other criminal offenses,” said Port Director Robert Larkin. “I’m proud of our officers and the work they do to interrupt currency smuggling operations and illegal activities daily.”

The full story is available here.

Have you had a customs money seizure at Detroit Metro Airport?

If you have a customs money seizure at Detroit Metro airport, don’t do it yourself. Cash seizure cases are often packed with with difficulties and unforeseen challenges. Instead of risking forfeiture and the total loss of your money, do the smart thing and call us for a free currency seizure consultation and make use of the free customs money seizure legal guide we publish on this website.

piles of money seized by CBP at dulles airport en route to Netherlands

CBP Seizes $66,000 in Cash from 2 Travelers

Dulles CBP again seized unreported money over the last weekend. The first was on an arriving flight from Dubai who filled out a form reporting $10,070, but in fact, she had almost $40,000 (oops).

The second was a man leaving for Morocco who reported $10,000 (and CBP helped him fill out a form for the $10,000 (why? it’s not more than $10,000…); but he actually had $26,000.

Here’s the story from CBP itself.

On Friday, CBP officers inspected a U.S. citizen female traveler after she arrived on a flight from Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The woman told CBP officers that she possessed $10,070 and completed a Treasury FINCEN-105 form for that amount. CBP officers then discovered a combined $39,536 in the woman’s carry-on bag and purse. CBP officers seized the currency and released the woman.

On Sunday, CBP officers inspected a U.S. lawful permanent resident male at the departure gate for a flight destined to Casablanca, Morocco. The man reported that he possessed $10,000. Officers assisted the man in completing a FINCEN-105 form to report his $10,000. During a subsequent examination of the man’s carryon bag and jacket, officers discovered a total of $26,000. Officers provided the man $1,300 for humanitarian relief and released him.

“Grossly under-reporting on both the Treasury currency reporting form and verbally to a Customs and Border Protection officer during an inspection is a clear violation of our nation’s currency reporting laws,” said Keith Fleming, Acting Director of Field Operations for CBP’s Baltimore Field Office. “CBP encourages travelers to truthfully report all currency and monetary instruments that they possess to a CBP officer.”

Although there is no limit to the amount of money that travelers may carry when crossing U.S. borders, federal law [31 U.S.C. 5316] requires that travelers report currency or monetary instruments in excess of $10,000 to a CBP officer at the airport, seaport, or land border crossing when entering or leaving the United States. Read more about currency reporting requirements.

An individual may petition for the return of seized currency, but the petitioner must prove that the source and intended use of the currency was legitimate.

The original link is here.

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.

piles of money seized by CBP at dulles airport en route to Netherlands

Dulles CBP Seizes $47,000 Cash From Netherlands-bound Traveler

Dulles CBP officers seized more than $47,440 from a woman U.S. citizen who was traveling to the Netherlands. This is an interesting story and markedly different from the usual seizure story; when the woman was asked how much she was carrying, she showed them a copy of a FinCen 105 form she actually filed on the same day.

If the story is accurate, she reported on the FinCen105 that she was carrying $10,000. Of course, it would not make sense to report carrying $10,000 on a FinCen105 even if it was true because the form is only properly filed when you travel with more than $10,000.

Perhaps her failure to comprehend this caused her to be flagged and scrutinized by CBP, because she did something that doesn’t make any sense. If there is an innocent explanation to this and she was not actually trying to skate past CBP with an extra $37,000 by filing a FinCen105 for a lower amount, then my guess is she misunderstood how to fill out the form. Just because your a U.S. citizen doesn’t mean your English is great or your very smart.

Also, I wonder if she just had a connecting flight at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, or if she really was just heading to the Netherlands. I don’t see much seizure activity to Western European nations, so it would be a surprise. Here’s the full story (linked here):

STERLING, Va. – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized more than $47,000 from a Netherlands-bound traveler Friday at Washington Dulles International Airport.

Officers asked the traveler, a female U.S. citizen, how much currency she possessed. She reported $10,000 and showed officers a FINCEN-105 currency reporting form she filed with CBP earlier Friday. Officers asked if she had any additional currency and she repeated that she was transporting a total of $10,000.

CBP officers then examined her carryon bag and discovered $47,440. Officers seized the currency and returned $1,740 to the traveler for humanitarian purposes, then released her to continue her trip.

CBP is not releasing the woman’s name because she was not criminally charged.

“Grossly under reporting on both the Treasury currency reporting form and to a Customs and Border Protection officer during inspection is a clear violation of our nation’s currency reporting laws,” said Keith Fleming, Acting Director of Field Operations for CBP’s Baltimore Field Office. “Travelers must truthfully report all currency and other monetary instruments that they possess to a CBP officer.”

Although there is no limit to the amount of money that travelers may carry when crossing U.S. borders, federal law [31 U.S.C. 5316] requires that travelers report currency or monetary instruments in excess of $10,000 to a CBP officer at the airport, seaport, or land border crossing when entering or leaving the United States.

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.

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. On average, CBP seized about $207,000 every day in unreported or illicit currency along our nation’s borders. Learn more about what CBP accomplished during “A Typical Day” in 2019.

An individual may petition for the return of seized currency, but the petitioner must prove that the source and intended use of the currency was legitimate.

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.

Piles of money seized by Philadelphia CBP

Philadelphia CBP Seized $44,000 from Jamaica-bound Travelers

Philadelphia CBP seized some cash from a couple heading to Jamaica. Philly is not a notorious location for aggressive enforcement of the currency reporting requirement by CBP, but it does occasionally seize money from traveler’s entering or leaving the country for not accurately reporting it. In the story that follows, CBP seized almost $45,000 from a couple who was leaving the United States for Jamaica, after they allegedly reported only carrying $6,050 (oops!).

It was not mentioned in the story, but a picture is worth a thousand words: the money was located in their baggage. Specifically, it was placed in envelopes in the pockets of a packed pair of jeans. This looks like bulk cash smuggling! Because the money was hidden in this way the chances of an increased penalty (i.e., 50% of the amount seized) GREATLY increases. Here’s the story:

PHILADELPHIA – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized more than $44,000 from a Jamaica-bound couple at Philadelphia International Airport on Friday.

CBP is not releasing the couple’s names because they were not criminally charged.

During outbound inspections of the Montego Bay-bound flight, the couple reported to CBP officers that they possessed $6,050. Officers advised the couple of federal currency reporting laws and the couple confirmed that amount verbally and in writing. During an examination of the couple’s carry-on baggage, officers discovered $44,629 in U.S. dollars and $5,000 Jamaican dollars (equivalent to $35.04 in U.S. dollars) for a total of $44,664.05.

Jeans stuffed with money in the pockets seized by CBP

Officers returned $535.04 to the couple for humanitarian relief and released them.

“Travelers face consequences, sometimes severe, for violating U.S. currency reporting laws,” said Keith Fleming, Acting Director of Field Operations for CBP’s Baltimore Field Office. “Our best advice to travelers is to truthfully report all currency they possess to a Customs and Border Protection officer during inspection.”

Although there is no limit to the amount of money that travelers may carry when crossing U.S. borders, federal law [31 U.S.C. 5316] requires that travelers report currency or monetary instruments in excess of $10,000 to a CBP officer at the airport, seaport, or land border crossing when entering or leaving the United States. Read more about currency reporting requirements.

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.

. . .

An individual may petition for the return of seized currency, but the petitioner must prove that the source and intended use of the currency was legitimate.

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.

Money in envelope seized by Dulles CBP

Dulles CBP Seize $340K in Cash from 6 Travelers

It was a busy week for customs officers at Dulles airport, seizing money from travelers for violating the currency reporting requirements. The press release from CBP, below, highlights a total of six seizures made in a single week totaling more than $339,000, which all violated the currency reporting requirements in one way or another (i.e., failure to report, structuring, and/or bulk cash smuggling).

Dulles airport is a hub for traveler’s heading to Africa. Around DC, there are large communities of people from Ethiopia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Ghana, and Cameroon. They make good money in the United States, and then try to take some of that money back home. Often times for building projects or investment opportunities in their native countries.

Here’s the rest of the cash seizure stories frrom CBP:

STERLING, Va. – Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized nearly $340,000 during six outbound seizures of unreported currency in one week at Washington Dulles International Airport.

Customs and Border Protection officers seized nearly $340,000 in unreported currency at Washington Dulles International Airport during September 9-17, 2020.

Although there is no limit to the amount of money that travelers may carry when crossing U.S. borders, federal law [31 U.S.C. 5316] requires that travelers report currency or monetary instruments in excess of $10,000 to a CBP officer at the airport, seaport, or land border crossing when entering or leaving the United States. Read more about currency reporting requirements.

The seizures included:

      • $19,762 from a couple destined to Sierra Leone on September 17;
      • $68,830 from a Paris-bound man on September 16;
      • $19,720 from a Paris-bound man on September 15;
      • $35,402 from a Paris-bound man on September 10;
      • $97,223 from a second Paris-bound man on September 10; and
      • $98,762 from an Ethiopia-bound man on September 9.

The currency seizures totaled $339,699.

Customs and Border Protection officers seized nearly $340,000 in unreported currency at Washington Dulles International Airport during September 9-17, 2020.

CBP is not releasing any of the travelers’ names since they were not criminally charged. All are either U.S. citizens or U.S. lawful permanent residents. An investigation continues.

“These are substantial seizures of unreported currency, and seizures that could have been avoided if the travelers would have been truthful in reporting their total currency to Customs and Border Protection officers,” said Casey Durst, Director of Field Operations for CBP’s Baltimore Field Office. “As the nation’s border security agency, CBP remains steadfast in our commitment to enforcing all U.S. laws at our nation’s borders, including federal currency reporting laws.”

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.

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.

 

$98,762 in U.S. dollars seized by CBP stacked in front of a Dulles airport Washington DC sign

Dulles Customs Seizes Hidden Bulk Cash to Ethiopia

Customs officers at Dulles Airport seized nearly $100,000 this week from a man who only reported traveling with $14,000.

The problem from customs perspective is that he truly had $99,000, and of that amount, almost $80,000 was hidden in his bags, within shoes and pants pockets. The refusal by the man to report the correct amount of cash he transported along with the location of the hidden cash within his baggage will easily allow customs to presume he intended to hide the money so that it would not be found. That is classic bulk cash smuggling.

Bulk cash smuggling, unlike simply inaccurately reporting cash, carries with it steep penalties starting at 50% of the amount of money seized, or in this case, nearly $55,000.

Cases at Dulles is always difficult when it comes to getting seized money back. They are extremely aggressive in processing cases and keeping a maximum penalty. In the nearly 450 cases we have handled, the only time we’ve had a client criminally charged after the seizure has been at Dulles Airport. The man was doing nothing illegal beyond not reporting the money.

That’s why the phrase “an investigation continues” that appears in this story would have me very worried if I were the person who had money seized.

Without further ado, and present the fuller story from customs, along with a picture, below:

STERLING, Va. – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at Washington Dulles International Airport seized nearly $99,000 from a man traveling to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Wednesday for violating federal currency reporting laws.

While conducting an outbound inspection on the Ethiopia-bound flight, CBP officers interviewed a U.S. lawful permanent resident who is an Ethiopian citizen. The man verbally and in writing reported that he possessed $14,000 and a subsequent examination of his carryon bag revealed $19,112.

Officers escorted the man to CBP’s inspection station and conducted a comprehensive examination of his baggage. Officers discovered an additional $79,650 concealed inside shoes and jeans pockets inside his checked baggage. Officers seized a total of $98,762 of unreported currency.

Stacks of $100 bills hidden in a shoe

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

“This is a significant currency seizure for Customs and Border Protection officers at Washington Dulles International Airport,” said Casey Durst, Director of Field Operations for CBP’s Baltimore Field Office. “Bulk currency being smuggled from the United States may be illicit proceeds from narcotics smuggling, counterfeiting, and other nefarious activities. CBP will remain steadfast in our commitment to intercepting these smuggling attempts and financially hurting transnational criminal organizations where we can.”

Although there is no limit to the amount of money that travelers may carry when crossing U.S. borders, federal law [31 U.S.C. 5316] requires that travelers report currency or monetary instruments in excess of $10,000 to a CBP officer at the airport, seaport, or land border crossing when entering or leaving the United States.

* * * *

An individual may petition for the return of seized currency, but the petitioner must prove that the source and intended use of the currency was legitimate.

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.

$42k Cash Seized at Detroit Metro Airport en route to Philippines

Detroit Metro Airport is a hotbed for traveler’s who are bringing cash into or out of the country. Very frequently, these travelers do not properly report having more than $10,000. Yesterday, the Director of Field Operations for Detroit CBP tweeted about a cash seizure that was not publicized in a news release (but should have been!).

The tweet, which you can see below, is rich in images. Apparently, a woman was trying to get about $42,000 to the Philippines but said she was only carrying $5,000. That, alone, is a reason for seizing the money — it is a violation of the currency reporting requirements, otherwise known as a failure to report cash.

But more problematic is where the money was found once officers decided she was not being truthful and decided to conduct a currency verification. The money was “concealed in books & clothes,” which is going to allow CBP to infer an intent to conceal the money from CBP when it is combined with her statement that she only had $5,000. Of course, the money was seized by CBP at Detroit airport.

Now, in my experience, the woman will probably have an innocent explanation for why she had the money hidden in books and clothes. Usually, there are justified fears of having the money stolen when traveling internationally, especially with lay-overs, and long flights. The penalties for bulk cash smuggling can be steep.

Have you had a customs money seizure at Detroit Metro Airport?

If you have a customs money seizure at Detroit Metro airport, don’t do it yourself. Cash seizure cases are often packed with with difficulties and unforeseen challenges. Instead of risking forfeiture and the total loss of your money, do the smart thing and call us for a free currency seizure consultation and make use of the free customs money seizure legal guide we publish on this website.