Customs Seizes $80,000 in Currency from Smuggler

Another day, another customs money seizure. This again demonstrates that, as in countless other incidents, the concealment of the cash is a smuggling offense. If this was just a civil seizure and not a criminal seizure, the woman could try to prove legitimate source and legitimate intended use and petition to get her money back; then this situation would be completely avoidable. But now, even if she is ultimately found not guilty of a crime, she will still face civil forfeiture of the money and, if she wants it back, will have to fight for its return administratively, or in the courts.

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.

The full story is here:

San Diego — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the Otay Mesa port of entry Tuesday arrested a Fresno woman after discovering nearly $80,000 in unreported U.S. currency during an alleged smuggling attempt.

The incident occurred shortly before 1:30 p.m. on February 11, when CBP officers were conducting southbound inspections of travelers heading to Mexico along the 905 south. A CBP officer targeted a blue 2007 Dodge Charger and referred the driver and vehicle for a more in-depth examination.

A CBP officer with a currency and firearms detector dog screened the vehicle, and the canine alerted to the dashboard on the passenger side. Officers discovered several bundles of U.S. currency concealed in the dashboard area behind the vehicle’s glove compartment.

Officers extracted three bundles with $79,925 in cash from the vehicle.

The driver, a 35-year-old Mexican citizen and legal permanent resident of the U.S., was arrested and turned over to the custody of Homeland Security Investigations agents for further processing, and was later transported to the Metropolitan Correctional Center to await criminal arraignment.

CBP seized the vehicle and currency.

It is a federal offense not to declare currency or monetary instruments totaling more than $10,000 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.

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