Customs Currency Seizure Totalling $421,770

In a recent news release U.S. Customs (CBP) seized nearly half of a million dollars in money concealed in the quarter panels of a vehicle. This means that the vehicle is subject to seizure as not only a vehicle outfitted for smuggling but also because it is a conveyance used in the violation of a law. That story is below:

El Paso, Texas – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers and U.S. Border Patrol agents performing southbound inspections at the El Paso port of entry seized $421,770 November 9. The money was concealed in the quarter panels of a car and in the purse of the driver.

“The team of CBP officers and Border Patrol agents performing outbound examinations are working hard to stop the flow of smuggled currency, weapons, ammunition, and other violations,” said El Paso Port Director Hector Mancha. “Individuals can export any amount of money they desire but if the total exceeds $10,000 it must be reported to CBP. Failure to properly report incoming and outgoing monetary instruments can result in seizure of the proceeds.

The seizure occurred at approximately 7 p.m. November 9 at the Ysleta international crossing. CBP officers and Border Patrol agents were screening southbound traffic when they selected a 2004 Chevrolet Cavalier for a secondary exam. As CBP personnel were interviewing the driver and lone occupant of the car a CBP currency detector dog alerted to the quarter panels of the vehicle. CBP personnel continued their exam and located bundles of money hidden within the quarter panels. CBP recovered a total of 36 packages of bundled currency including four in the purse of the driver. No arrests were made and the investigation continues at this time.

The fact that no arrestswere made and the investigation continues seems to indicate to me that, perhaps, there was no nexus to illegal activity. Maybe they were hiding the money to keep it safe. I have handled stranger cases. If the money is civilly seized the persons with an interest in it are going to eventually get a notice of seizure to which they will have to respond.

If you have had cash seized by customs and are contemplating what to do next, please make use of the other information available on this website or 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 around the country, including Chicago, Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, Orlando and many other places, and not just locally in Detroit.

Please read these other articles:

  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. Responding to a Customs currency seizure
  8. How do I get my seized money back?
  9. Getting money seized by U.S. Customs back while staying overseas
  10. How long does it take Customs to decide a petition for a currency/monetary instrument seizure?