Category: Seizures in the News

Bulk Cash Smuggling; Customs Currency Seizure

Arizona news is reporting that a Mexican national was caught trying to smuggle $90,000 in U.S. currency. The individual transporting the currency is being held for bulk cash smuggling charges.  The article has some interested pictures of the actual cash and its location. Apparently drug-sniffing dogs detected the presence of drugs in the vehicle (likely traces on the currency), which tipped them off the presence of the currency.

Legitimate source? Legitimate intended use? You be the judge!

You can read more about what constitutes bulk cash smuggling offense by clicking HERE. If you have had your cash seized by Customs you might find our article on responding to a U.S. Customs money/currency seizure helpful (click HERE to read it). You can also contact our office and speak to a customs attorney by call (734) 855-4999, or by clicking HERE.

U.S. Customs Money Seizure of $460,000 in Smuggled Currency

CBP reports that a money smuggling attempt in Nogales, Arizona, was stopped. This story looks similar in dollar amount — $464,00 seized – amount as a money seizure by¬†U.S. Customs and Border Protection¬†near the Port of Laredo, which I blogged about here.

Us Customs 460k Smuggled Money Seizure
Picture of currency hidden in a nightstand.

This time, though, instead of the money apparently being hidden in the vehicle itself, it looks like it was hidden in a nightstand. Either way, hiding it is most likely going to result in a charge of smuggling, which is basiscally what bulk cash smuggling amounts to.  This resulted in a seizure of the vehicle and the money itself.

For more information on money seizures by U.S. Customs, the reporting requirements, structuring violations, bulk cash smuggling, and how to get seized currency back, please visit our page devoted to discussion of currency seizures, and also read these articles:

And of course, if you have had your money seized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, do not delay and call our office immediately at (734) 855-4999! You can also fill out our form and we will contact you, or drop us an e-mail by visiting our Contact page.

U.S. Customs money seizure in Maine

The Bangor Daily News out of Maine reports on some noteworthy monetary instruments seizures in 2012 by U.S. Customs, including this one:

In one incident the agency highlighted, two Houlton Border Patrol agents seized $89,808 in U.S. currency, $10,440 in Western Union traveler’s checks and $200 in Canadian currency from two men from Canada.

The money was apparently was connected with:

. . . a telephone fraud scheme that preyed on the elderly. The scam involved the subjects advising the elderly of a grandchild or other relative desperately in need of money, and instructing them to wire funds. The victims were subsequently bilked out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. US Canada Border Marker

[  . . . ] The $100,448 initially seized by Border Patrol agents was returned to 18 of the victims.

No mention of the exact legal basis under which the money was seized, or exactly how this fraud scheme became unraveled at the border. I suspect somebody was trying to smuggling the money of the country to evade detection, and taxes, when CBP made the discovery and began putting the puzzle pieces back together.

If you have had currency seized from Customs, do not go it alone. Get the advice of an attorney who knows what he is doing. If you do not, you might only make the situation worse by handling it on your own or hiring an inexperienced lawyer. You worked hard for your money, so be sure to protect it. If you have questions, please give us a call.

To further inform yourself, please read the various articles I have written on this and related topics. But do not let it replace the advice of attorney who is familiar with the law and your particular circumstances.

U.S. Customs currency seizures at the ports

As should be expected because of the shared border with Mexico, Laredo news has reports of two other 

Money black hole

significantly large currency seizures; one from another Chicagoan who was found to be transporting $214,925 in unreported currency in her vehicle and, more interestingly, and a 21 year old  Washingtonian who was transporting $115,594 in currency hidden in seven bundles underneath her clothing.

Both seizures occurred the same day and at the same location. As before, the Laredo news does a decent job of getting the law on this topic right, which I have explained before here by noting that you can petition for the return of the currency and that the person transporting the unreported currency is subject to arrest for criminal violations.

That brings me to the next point:

If you have had currency seized from CBP it is a serious matter Рthe law is complex, and any mistake can cost you dearly. Please give us a call and we will provide you with a free telephone consultation. To further inform yourself, you can also read the various articles we have written on this and related topics.

CBP seizes $460,060 in unreported currency

The Laredo Sun reports on a recent currency seizure by U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Laredo, Texas, from a 31 year U.S. citizen from Chicago who was transporting $460,060  as he attempted to drive across the border to Mexico. Something tipped the officers off as he left the U.S., and they pulled him and his vehicle aside for a secondary inspection to verify the amount of money being transported.

The money was apparently concealed in various parts of his vehicle. I can only imagine how long it took them to count it all out and the condition of the truck. If this individual is not prosecuted by the government for criminal violations, he faces the  potentially difficult task of proving a legitimate source and legitimate intended use of the money (not to mention fitting all the plastic interior trim pieces back like new).

car_crossingIn this case, we could give the man the benefit of the doubt and presume the legitimate source is the proceeds of a life insurance policy of a beloved family member; and the intended use, perhaps he was paying cash for a nice place on the¬†Riveria Maya. That’s just my guess, and yes, I have handled stranger cases.

If we assume he proves these two things, then this situation is regrettable for him and completely avoidable. But now, even if criminal charges are ultimately not filed or if he is ultimately found not guilty of a crime, he will still face civil forfeiture of the money and, if he wants it back, will have to fight for its return administratively, or in the courts.

This news story gets a lot of things right about the currency seizure process because they note you can petition for the return of the currency and that the person transporting the unreported currency is subject to arrest for criminal violations.

That brings me to the next point:

If you have had currency seized from Customs, do not go it alone. Get the advice of an attorney who knows what he is doing. If you do not, you might only make the situation worse by handling it on your own or hiring a lawyer who doesn’t regularly handle these cases.

Our customs law firm handles currency/money seizures made by customs in Detroit and around the country; call (734) 855-4999 to consult with a customs lawyer today (you can read our popular page on Responding to a Customs Money Seizure HERE).If you have had money seized by Detroit CBP/customs call our office at (734) 855-4999 to speak to a lawyer, or e-mail us through our contact page (see our case results here). We are able to assist with cash seized by customs nationwide, including Detroit, Chicago, Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Orlando.

Please read these other articles customs currency seizures:

  1. Seizure of currency and monetary instruments by U.S. Customs
  2. Seizure for bulk cash smuggling into or out of the U.S.
  3. Structuring currency imports and exports
  4. Is it $10,000 per person?  Under what circumstances is filing a report with Customs for transporting more than $10,000 required?
  5. Criminal & civil penalties for failing to report monetary instrument transportation
  6. Is only cash currency subject to seizure by Customs?
  7. How do I get my seized money back from customs?
  8. Getting money seized by U.S. Customs back while staying overseas
  9. How long does it take Customs to decide a petition for a currency/monetary instrument seizure?
  10. Targeted Enforcement for Customs Money Seizures

Customs seizes $25,000 currency in El Paso, Texas

The El Paso Times reports on a recent currency seizure by U.S. Customs and Border Protection in El Paso, Texas, from a woman who was carrying $25,000  as she attempted to walk into Mexico. They found three bundles of currency in her purse, all unreported.

This article gives me the opportunity to provide some additional insight for my readers: every time currency is seized Customs asks the moneyrolldistrict attorney’s office if they want to prosecute. I do not have access to the actual numbers, but from my experience in the vast majority of currency seizures there is no criminal prosecution. But as this article shows, that is not always the case.

In this instance, the district attorney decided to prosecute and the woman is being held without bond and facing criminal charges. If it
turns out the money was from legitimate source and she had a legitimate intended use, this situation was completely avoidable. But now, even if criminal charges are ultimately not filed or if she is ultimately found not guilty of a crime, she will still face civil forfeiture of the money and, if she wants it back, will have to fight for its return administratively, or in the courts.

If you have had currency seized from Customs you should seek the advice of an attorney. If you do not do so, you might only make the situation worse by trying to handle it on your own. Please make use of the various articles I have made available to the public to help better understand your situation and the procedures involved, but do not let them replace the advice of attorney who is familiar with the law and your particular circumstances.

Customs’ seizes T-Rex skull in Jackson, Wyoming as part of ongoing investigation

According to this news report, and this one, Customs in Jackson, Wyoming, exercised a federal warrant to seize the skull of a Tarbosaurus¬†from someone’s home. The story draws a¬†parallel¬†to another recent news item about the importation of¬†dinosaur¬†bones:

Federal officials recently seized a nearly complete Tarbosaurus skeleton that was sold at auction and arrested a Florida man for illegally importing dinosaur fossils.

A U.S. attorney for the president of Mongolia says that country welcomes the increased awareness for the illegal trade of Mongolian fossils.

Local 8 news.

According to the limited information in the News & Guide article, the fossil was seized for  failure to provide proper documentation that the export was done in compliance with the law.

That article also references a similar case involving a¬†dinosaur¬†skeleton in New York and Florida, and I would also draw the reader’s attention to the story I blogged about a few months ago in Detroit¬†where seized fossils went unclaimed and were thereafter donated to the University of Michigan.

Maybe instead of devoting so much of my blogging lately to avoid having your currency seized I need to start focusing on avoiding having your fossils seized…