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Electronic FinCen105 From CBP

In the past few years, CBP has made it possible to file a FinCEN 105 form online at this website. Common sense would tell you if you file the report that you’re carrying more than $10,000 in cash (or monetary instruments) online, you can avoid having to go through the hassle of reporting the money in person.

That’s common sense, anyway. So much for that, because you’d be 100% wrong. If you file the report online, you still have to physically report to CBP as confirmation! For this reason, I did a new YouTube video on the topic:

You can also see my other YouTube videos on related cash seizure topics on our channel here: Great Lakes Customs Law YouTube Channel

Has CBP seized your money?

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


Chart of Detroit Field Office FY21 Enforcement Stats

CBP Detroit Seizes $5.6 Million in 2021

Cash seizures by Detroit CBP are picking up steam, as travel increased over the summer months as the pandemic (appeared) to diminish. You’ll recall in June, we reported on the 60% decline in cash seizures in Detroit; now, CBP is reporting (among other interesting statistics) that cash seizures have increased by 30% from FY20 to a total of $5.6 million. This is still far shy of the $7.8 million seized in FY 2019 (the record, as far as I can tell, was $10 million in FY 2015!).

Here’s the interesting parts from the full story:

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.

    • Firearms/Ammunition ~

A total of 181 firearms were seized – along with 40,000 rounds of ammunition which is a 650% increase from Fiscal Year 2021 .

Undeclared Currency ~

The amount of undeclared currency seized rose 30% from FY20 to a total of $5.6 million.

Arrests ~

A total of 181 individuals were arrested in Fiscal Year 2021 for reasons to include: narcotics smuggling, human smuggling, firearms violations, and fraud.

Trade Stats ~

In Fiscal Year 2021 the Detroit Field Office enhanced the nation’s economic prosperity by processing 2,300,000 commercial trucks which was a 9% increase from 2020. Detroit continues to be the second busiest truck crossing in the entire United States and continues to process approximately 20% of all commercial trucks entering the United States annually. The Detroit Field Office also continued to strengthen its ties with the trade community and international supply chains in 2021 which resulted in a 12% increase of international trade entering the United States via ports of entry in Michigan worth $138 billion.

Agriculture Stats/Seizure – Securing American Agriculture

In Fiscal Year 2021, Detroit Field Office CBP agriculture specialists helped protect America’s agriculture, natural resources, and economic prosperity, intercepting 1,253 pests from entering the United States

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.
Cash Guns and Drugs Seized by Detroit Customs

Cash Seized by Detroit CBP, with Guns & Drugs

Cash continues to be seized by U.S. Customs & Border Protection at the Port of Detroit, as the tweet from the Director of Field Operations below shows. In this case, the seizure of the money is likely for reasons other than failure to report the cash, but probably for bulk cash smuggling or violations related to money laundering or illegal activity (drugs/gun trafficking, etc.).

Here’s a tweet from the Detroit DFO (Director of Field Operations) for CBP:

This is a reminder that even if money is properly reported to CBP, they can still seize it for other reasons, with sufficient cause for seizure. In this case, someone traveling with cash, guns, and drugs is pretty obviously up to no good.

Has CBP Detroit Seized Your Cash?

If CBP Detroit seized your cash, we can help you just live we’ve helped over 425 people get back their seized money over the past 10 years. 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.

British Pounds and USD Seized by CBP at Dublin, Ireland Pre-Clearance

Passenger Fails to Report British Pounds at Dublin Pre-Clearance, CBP Seizes

CBP Pre-Clearance operations in Dublin, Ireland, seized $61,000 worth of British Pounds that was being taken to the United States (without reporting it) by a traveller. It’s an interesting story because this seizure by United States Customs & Border Protection took place in Dublin, Ireland.

The story says its a seizure of money for not reporting it (i.e., undeclared cash), but if the sign in the background is to believed, the money was also smuggled (i.e. hidden, bulk cash smuggling).

This is possible because CBP operates “pre-clearance” centers where you go effectively go through U.S. customs before ever leaving country/airport you are travelling from. Back in 2006, before I knew anything about pre-clearance, I was processed through CBP’s Dublin pre-clearance center. It really caught me off guard to see uniformed CBP officer’s in the middle of Ireland.

Have you had money seized at CBP in Dublin Pre-Clearance?

If CBP in Dublin Pre-Clearance 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 Seizes Helicopter Drones for FCC label violations

CBP in Detroit, as part of a larger seizure that we blogged about not long ago, has seized 4,600 radio-controlled drone helicopters. But, because they did not have the appropriate FCC labels (certifying compliance of the product with FCC regulations), they have been seized. Here’s the story from CBP, along with an embedded tweet with more pics of the merchandise from Director of Field Operations for Detroit.

DETROIT— U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has effectively grounded more than 4,600 remote controlled helicopter drones at the Fort Street Cargo Facility.

The 4,619 drones, valued at approximately $69,000, were seized after officers and import specialists discovered the merchandise did not meet Federal Communications Commission labeling requirements. The shipment was also determined to be undervalued by nearly $62,000, and subject to legislative duties as outlined in Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974.

The intended imports, which originated from China, were seized June 1 in conjunction with a previous shipment containing more than $400,000 in counterfeit merchandise. Those items were seized in late May.

“The CBP employees in Detroit are committed to protecting the American consumer and the economy, while facilitating legitimate trade and travel,” said Devin Chamberlain, Port Director. “The products CBP prevents from entering the United States are those that could injure community health, public safety and the American way of life.”

Has CBP seized your imports for failing to meet FCC requirements?

If CBP seized your imports for failing to meet FCC requirements, or get a penalty for import violations, 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.

Cash Seized by CBP at Presidio Texas

CBP Presidio Seizes $175,935 In Cash at Mexican Border

CBP in Presidio, Texas seized $175,936 when inspecting people leaving the country for Mexico on June 7, 2020. The story which is quoted below, says that the money was hidden within the quarter panel (i.e., in the body panels above the front wheels) of a vehicle.

Obviously, then, this money is not just “undeclared” as the story headline broadcasts, but also smuggled. The man who was driving the vehicle was arrested and “is facing federal currency smuggling charges.” That means he is being charged with bulk cash smuggling under 31 USC 5332.

The cash was smuggled, and the vehicle was outfitted for smuggling the cash, thus making them both subject to seizure under the customs law.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operations officers conducting southbound operations at the Presidio port of entry yesterday afternoon, stopped a 22-year-old male U.S. citizen who was attempting to leave the country with $175,935 in unreported U.S. currency.

The seizure was made at approximately 2:37 p.m. while CBP officers were conducting joint southbound operations with U.S. Border Patrol, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Presidio Police Department. A CBP officer selected a compact car for an intensive exam following an interview with the driver.

A CBP currency detector dog alerted to the front quarter panels of the vehicle. Twelve bundles were removed from non-factory compartments found on the driver and passenger side quarter panels of the vehicle.

CBP officers arrested the man. He was turned over to Homeland Security Investigations special agents and is facing federal currency smuggling charges.

Has Presidio CBP seized your money?

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

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

CBP Laredo Seizes $12,000 Heading to Mexico

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

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

Here’s part of news release:

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

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

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

Has CBP seized your currency?

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

$15,000 seized by CBP at Philadelphia airport stored in a bag

Philadelphia CBP Seizes $15k Cash to Lebanon

Philadelphia CBP seized around $15,000 cash from a woman bound for Lebanon because she did not report it to CBP when she was leaving the country. The story, released by CBP, is the first news story released about a money seizure that has not happened at Dulles airport in a while, so we are happy to report it.

Philadelphia CBP seizes money at a much lower volume than other ports like Detroit, JFK Airport, or Dulles, but as this story shows, it still happens. This is the first story we’ve been able to comment on from Philly CBP regarding a cash seizure since 2017. Here it is:

PHILADELPHIA – The most important advice U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) offers passengers traveling to and from the United States is to provide truthful declarations to CBP officers when inspected. A woman heading to Lebanon learned this simple rule when CBP officers seized more than $15,000 in unreported currency Wednesday at Philadelphia International Airport.

CBP officers encountered the woman, who is a Lebanese citizen and lawful permanent resident of the U.S. as she boarded a Germany-bound flight. Officers explained federal currency reporting requirements to the woman and she acknowledged the law, then reported that she possessed $10,000.

Officers examined her carry-on baggage and discovered $15,385. Officers seized $15,085 and returned $300 to the woman for humanitarian purposes. Officers released her to continue her travel.

It is legal to carry large sums of currency into or out of the United States. However, federal law requires that travelers who possess $10,000 or more in currency or other monetary instruments must report it all to a CBP officer at the airport, seaport, or land border crossing when entering or leaving the country. Read more about currency reporting requirements.

Has Philly CBP seized your cash?

If Philly 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.

Hundred dollar bills seized by CBP in Detroit

CBP Cash Seizures and Enforcement Increase at Detroit Metro Airport

A story that CBP in Detroit is increasing cash reporting enforcement at Detroit Metro Airport was all over the local news headlines last week (see here, and here), but because of it, I was not able to post and comment about it until now (yes, it’s busy).

CBP Detroit has released mid-(fiscal)-year statistics in the past, and they have done so again this year. They usually come around May (we commented on it in 2017, further back in 2015 and first in 2013).

Most of the seizures happen at Detroit Metropolitan Airport in Romulus, Michigan. CBP Officers there are very active in seizing money. And for good reason: lot’s of people don’t report it, or for some reason, think it’s illegal to carry cash (it’s not!). There’s a lot of people traveling with cash there, because it’s an ethnically diverse area and a connecting hub for many flights where people tend to use cash: China, India, and the Middle East.

How much of a difference is this over past years, really? Well, here’s a summary of all data from this story and comparing it to those we wrote about in years past,

  • October 1, 2016 to May 2, 2017 = $4.4 million (2+ quarters)
  • October 1, 2014 to September 30, 2015 = $10,067,095 (full year)
  • October 1, 2018 to March 31, 2019 = $3,852,252 (2 quarters)
  • October 1, 2017 to March 31, 2019 = $2,384,360 (2 quarters)

While we don’t have the exact data for an apples-to-apples comparison, it looks like Detroit CBP at Metro Airport is closely approximating the seizure activity of the their 2016-2017 fiscal year this year, when they seized $4.4 million by May 2.

We’ve definitely noticed an increase a clients reporting seized money from CBP, especially for this time of year. So far, our firm has handled 48 cases this fiscal year — and a total of 342 since 2012. We are by far the most experienced law firm to help get seized money back from Detroit Customs.

The original story can be read here, but is reproduced below:

ROMULUS, Mich. – During the first half of fiscal year 2019, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officers within the Detroit Field Office achieved a 62% increase in the seizure of unreported currency from international passengers as compared to the same period last year. A vast majority of the seizures occurred at Detroit Metro Airport.

Thus far in fiscal year 2019 starting October 1 and ending March 31, CBP has seized $3,852,262 in unreported currency from international travelers, this compares to $2,384,360 seized during the same time frame for fiscal year 2018.

CBP in conjunction with its Department of Homeland Security (DHS) partners, continues its efforts to prevent the unreported movement of currency through the Detroit Metropolitan Airport and other ports of entry within the Detroit Field Office.  

“This increase clearly demonstrates our continued commitment, and that of our partners, to protect the United States from proceeds of criminal activity,” said Devin Chamberlain, CBP Port Director at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

Bulk cash smuggling is the act of concealing currency and/or reportable monetary instruments with the intent of evading currency reporting requirements, in an attempt to transfer or transport the currency or monetary instrument(s) across an international border.

While it is not a crime to carry more than $10,000, federal currency reporting requirements state that travelers must report currency or monetary instruments totaling $10,000 or more [Editor: This is wrong. It’s “more than $10,000”) to a CBP officer upon entry to or exit from the United States.  Failure to declare may result in the seizure of the currency, and possible arrest.  An individual may petition for the return of currency seized [Editor: Or file a claim, make an offer in compromise, etc.], but the petitioner must prove that the source and intended use of the currency was legitimate.

Coming Reforms to CBP Regulations

A few weeks back, the Commercial Customs Operations
Advisory Committee (COAC), met in Washington DC. COAC is a 20-person committee that was established by Congress, and it “provides advice and recommendations to CBP and the Department of the Treasury on the commercial operations of CBP and trade-related interdepartmental functions.”

The press release for the event gives us some insight into the ongoing work to reduce and simplify the regulations used by U.S. Customs & Border Protection. The end-result could be 35% reduction to the text of the regulations:

Updating the regulations was a collaborative effort. “We had subject matter experts go section by section through the regulations and identify the pain points, the problems, the language, whatever the difficulty was,” said James Swanson, director of cargo, security and control in CBP’s Office of Field Operations. “This was a big effort. But it was important to industry and quite frankly, it was important to me. It makes it easier to enforce and easier to identify what the regulations are. We expect to reduce the overall size and text of the regulations by about 35 percent,” he said.

They also issued a regulatory reform issue paper, that goes into a little more detail on non-public regulation reforms:

  • Revenue modernization
  • Modernizing the vessel arrival process to be automated and streamlined
  • Updating the regulations to account for eBond functionality in ACE
  • Free Trade Zone modernization (also a COAC working group)
  • Advance Electronic Data for international mail
  • Export manifest modernization
  • Changes to the in-bond process (also a COAC working group)
  • Bonded warehouse modernization
  • Liquidation process modernization
  • Updating regulations for ACE functionality

ACE is among the most exciting things to happen with CBP for a customs practitioner in a long time; it streamlines (i.e., makes paperless) the protest filing process. That, coupled with the online publication of the bulletin notices of liquidation, makes life much easier and much more efficient for us customs lawyers.

Updating the regulations for ACE functionality and liquidation modernization should prove to be the most enticing changes to the regulations for practitioners.