CBP Officers Arrest Man with $165,000 in Unreported Currency at the Laredo Port of Entry

Customs money seizure news releases from U.S. Customs & Border Protection have been sparse since customs renovated with their website. But, after nearly two months, we have a new story about a recent customs currency case at the Mexican border. This story is a about a 60 year old Mexican national from Louisiana who was transporting $165,000 in currency on his body.

LAREDO, Texas – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers and agents at the Laredo Port of Entry seized more than $150,000 in unreported currency as the result of a single enforcement action that resulted in the arrest of the man who had the currency in his possession.

Stopping the export of unreported currency is an important role in the overall scheme of hindering the flow of illicit proceeds at U.S. borders,” said Jose R. Uribe, Acting CBP Port Director, Laredo. “Laredo CBP officers and agents remain dedicated to the mission of applying export rules and regulations and hindering the cycle of these illegal outbound exportations.”

The interception of the currency occurred on Friday, April 11, while CBP officers and Border Patrol agents conducting outbound (southbound) inspections at the Lincoln-Juarez International Bridge came across a 2011 Honda Civic driven by a 60-year-old Mexican citizen from St. Amant, La. A CBP officer referred the male driver and vehicle for a secondary examination that resulted in the discovery of eight bundles containing approximately $165,000 in unreported currency on his person.

CBP officers seized the unreported currency, and the vehicle. The driver was arrested by CBP officers and turned over to Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents for further investigation.

Individuals are permitted to carry any amount of currency or monetary instruments into or out of the U.S.; however, if the quantity is more than $10,000, they will need to report it to CBP. “Money” means monetary instruments and includes U.S. or foreign coins currently in circulation, currency, traveler’s checks in any form, money orders, and negotiable instruments or investment securities in bearer form. Failure to declare may result in seizure of the currency and/or arrest.

The original news release for this customs money seizure is available here.

The reason your currency was seized by customs may be different. The vast majority of my client’s have had their money taken by customs at the airport or at the land borders because of miscommunication, ignorance of the reporting requirement, confusion, fatigue from travel, and other times because of unfair, if not necessarily illegal, enforcement tactics used by customs. If you have had money seized by customs call our office at (734) 855-4999 to speak to a customs lawyer, or e-mail us through our contact page. 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 from our customs law blog:

  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

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