Customs Currency Seizure Assisted by K9

Customs seized currency at Dulles airport for failure to file a currency report for a man who repeatedly reported transporting only $8,000, but he was instead found with more than $20,000. Below is a picture from the customs news release that shows, apparently, the offending currency and it’s new owner, a German Shepherd. Alright, the German Shepherd will not become the new owner, as the story correctly points out anyone who has had their currency seized by customs has the right, among others, to petition to have the currency returned to them provided that they can establish a legitimate source for the money and show that it had a legitimate intended use. Here’s the story from Customs:

IAD K9 24k Seizure

STERLING, Va. — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Field Operations (OFO) at Washington Dulles International Airport seized $24,789 from a U.S. citizen Monday for violating federal currency reporting regulations.

The man, who arrived on a flight from Qatar, declared possessing only $8,000. While proceeding to the exit from the federal inspection area a CBP K9 enforcement officer led his partner, CBP currency detection K9 “Nicky,” over to sniff the traveler’s luggage. Nicky alerted and the officer asked the man how much money he was carrying. He declared $8,000. The officer then referred the traveler for a secondary inspection.

In secondary the man again declared possessing $8,000 to CBP officers. While examining the passenger’s luggage, CBP officers discovered an envelope containing $24,789. CBP officers seized the $24,789 and advised the traveler how to petition for the return of his currency.

CBP K9 ‘Nicky’ detected $24k in unreported currency a traveler concealed at Washington Dulles International Airport April 21, 2014.There is no limit to how much currency travelers can import or export; however federal law requires travelers to report to CBP amounts exceeding $10,000 in monetary instruments, which includes foreign currency.

“Travelers who refuse to comply with federal currency reporting requirements run the risk of having their currency seized, and may potentially face criminal charges,” said Frances B. Garcia, Acting CBP Port Director for the Port of Washington. “The traveler was given the opportunity to truthfully report his currency. The easiest way to hold on to your money is to report it.”

Like other law enforcement, Customs’ uses dogs to enhance it’s search capabilities at the border and in airports, and in this case, the dog was able to sniff out the currency, most likely because it contained trace amounts of narcotics, as I am told most U.S. currency does.

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