Customs & Border Protection discusses a recent money seizure in a news release available by clicking HERE. This time it was a Mexican national travelling from the U.S. to Mexico, who advised Customs that the items he was transporting in his truck were picked up at a swap meet. According to the story:
During the search of the truck, which was loaded with items the man said he purchased at a swap meet, officers found a box supposedly containing lawn furniture. The box actually contained seven packages of unreported U.S. currency totaling $348,840. The vehicle and cash were seized.
Then at the same port, on the same day and different man and vehicle were inspected, and:
During the search a zip-lock bag, a fast-food sack and a brownie mix box were discovered concealing unreported U.S. currency totaling $27,670.
A picture of this rich and chocolaty brownie mix was also included as part of the story.
These individuals were arrested and face charges for bulk cash smuggling under state law. If we assume he proves these two things, then this situation is regrettable for him and completely avoidable. But now, even if criminal charges are ultimately not filed or if they are ultimately found not guilty of a crime, they will still face civil forfeiture of the money and, if they want it back, will have to fight for its return administratively, or in the courts.If these individuals are found not guilty of a crime, then they face the potentially difficult task of proving a legitimate source and legitimate intended use of the money.
So, if you have had currency seized from Customs, I strongly advise against trying to do it yourself Get the advice of an attorney who knows what he is doing. If you do not, you might only make the situation worse by handling it on your own or hiring a lawyer who does not regularly handle these types of matters.
To inform yourself, please read the various articles I have written on this and related topics. But do not let it replace the advice of attorney who is familiar with the law and your particular circumstances. If you have questions, please give us a call at (734) 855-4999.