CBP Seizes More than $1 Million in Currency

This is a news release from U.S. Customs & Border Protection involving a currency seizure and the arrest of the people who smuggled the currency in their vehicle. The fact of the arrest means that there is a fair chance that the individuals were involved in some sort of illegal activity. We typically handle cases for the seizure of money at the airport by customs where there is no arrest because there is no apparent connection to illegal activity at the time of seizure. You should read our popular page on Responding to a Customs Money Seizure. Let’s have a look at this story, and a picture of the cash seized by customs:

The . . . seizure occurred on Dec. 7, at the Hidalgo-Reynosa International Bridge after CBP officers working outbound operations selected a tan 2010 Ford Fusion for inspection. The driver, a 29-year-old female United States citizen from Pharr, Texas and the 63-year-old male passenger, a Mexican citizen from Reynosa, were referred for a secondary inspection.  During the course of the secondary examination, Officers discovered packages of unreported U.S. currency secreted within the Ford sedan. CBP-OFO removed and seized 21 packages containing a total of $255,361 of U.S. currency that was allegedly headed into Mexico without being reported.

money seizure by U.S. customs

CBP Field Operations arrested the . . . individuals who were ultimately released to the custody of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents for further investigation. CBP-OFO also seized all the vehicles involved in the failed smuggling attempts.

It is not a crime to carry more than $10,000, but it is a federal offense not to declare currency or monetary instruments totaling $10,000 or more to a CBP officer upon entry or exit from the U.S. or to conceal it with intent to evade reporting requirements. Failure to declare may result in seizure of the currency and/or arrest. An individual may petition for the return of currency seized by CBP officers, but the petitioner must prove that the source and intended use of the currency was legitimate.

CBP’s Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas Port of Entry is part of the South Texas Campaign, which leverages federal, state and local resources to combat transnational criminal organizations.

Again, Customs gets it wrong here when they say “$10,000 or more” must be reported; it is “more than $10,000”. A slight difference, but a difference nonetheless.

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 (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