Customs Money Seizure in El Paso

Another day and another news release from customs about a recent customs money seizure. This currency seizure story comes from the land border crossing at El Paso, Texas. This story is interesting because even though the money was deeply concealed in the heater core of the vehicle the driver was nevertheless released. How could that be? It could be that the driver bought the car used and was innocently travelling to Mexico without knowledge of the presence of the concealed currency, or it could be that the concealment was not done with an intent to evade the currency and monetary instrument reporting requirement (as that would be bulk cash smuggling). People hide money all the time in order to thwart attempts at theft by others. That’s why banks have safes.

(Friday, December 13, 2013) 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 $83,900 Thursday. The money was hidden in a car that was leaving the United States.

CBP outbound inspections are intended to stop the flow of unreported currency, weapons, ammunition and other export violations,” said CBP El Paso Port Director Hector Mancha. “Currency is the life blood for criminal organizations so anytime CBP can seize any amount it makes it harder for those groups to continue their illegal enterprise.”

The seizure was made just before 10 a.m. at the Bridge of the Americas when a 2002 Buick LeSabre attempted to leave the U.S. for Mexico. CBP officers and Border Patrol agents selected the vehicle for an exam. While CBP personnel interviewed the driver a CBP currency detector dog searched the vehicle and alerted to the vents. CBP continued their exam and located four plastic-wrapped bundles concealed in the heater core. The contents of the packages contained $83,900 in unreported currency. The money was seized. The driver was released and the investigation continues.

There is no limit to how much currency travelers can import or export; however, federal law requires travelers to report amounts exceeding $10,000 in U.S. dollars or equivalent foreign currency.

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?