Philadelphia CBP Seized $44,000 from Jamaica-bound Travelers

Piles of money seized by Philadelphia CBP

Philadelphia CBP seized some cash from a couple heading to Jamaica. Philly is not a notorious location for aggressive enforcement of the currency reporting requirement by CBP, but it does occasionally seize money from traveler’s entering or leaving the country for not accurately reporting it. In the story that follows, CBP seized almost $45,000 from a couple who was leaving the United States for Jamaica, after they allegedly reported only carrying $6,050 (oops!).

It was not mentioned in the story, but a picture is worth a thousand words: the money was located in their baggage. Specifically, it was placed in envelopes in the pockets of a packed pair of jeans. This looks like bulk cash smuggling! Because the money was hidden in this way the chances of an increased penalty (i.e., 50% of the amount seized) GREATLY increases. Here’s the story:

PHILADELPHIA – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized more than $44,000 from a Jamaica-bound couple at Philadelphia International Airport on Friday.

CBP is not releasing the couple’s names because they were not criminally charged.

During outbound inspections of the Montego Bay-bound flight, the couple reported to CBP officers that they possessed $6,050. Officers advised the couple of federal currency reporting laws and the couple confirmed that amount verbally and in writing. During an examination of the couple’s carry-on baggage, officers discovered $44,629 in U.S. dollars and $5,000 Jamaican dollars (equivalent to $35.04 in U.S. dollars) for a total of $44,664.05.

Jeans stuffed with money in the pockets seized by CBP

Officers returned $535.04 to the couple for humanitarian relief and released them.

“Travelers face consequences, sometimes severe, for violating U.S. currency reporting laws,” said Keith Fleming, Acting Director of Field Operations for CBP’s Baltimore Field Office. “Our best advice to travelers is to truthfully report all currency they possess to a Customs and Border Protection officer during inspection.”

Although there is no limit to the amount of money that travelers may carry when crossing U.S. borders, federal law [31 U.S.C. 5316] requires that travelers report currency or monetary instruments in excess of $10,000 to a CBP officer at the airport, seaport, or land border crossing when entering or leaving the United States. Read more about currency reporting requirements.

During inspections, CBP officers ensure that travelers fully understand federal currency reporting requirements and offer travelers multiple opportunities to accurately report all currency and monetary instruments they possess before examining a traveler’s carryon or checked baggage.

. . .

An individual may petition for the return of seized currency, but the petitioner must prove that the source and intended use of the currency was legitimate.

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