Tag: border crossing

Bags of money stuffed inside a speaker box seized by U.S. Customs

CBP discovers and seizes about $700,000 leaving for Mexico

Here is a tale of a cash seizure made by CBP in El Paso, Texas, from back in June. I’ve been sitting on this one a while due to customs law blogging being a pretty low priority due to my heavy case load. The facts are not unusual in this case: young man, driving a ordinary vehicle, denies carrying more than $10,000 in cash. Upon inspection on the ordinary vehicle, CBP finds more than a half-million dollars of cash hidden in it. It looks like it was hidden inside a subwoofer-enclosure.

Here’s the story:

Officers working at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operations’ El Paso port of entry (POE) seized $689,506 in currency yesterday afternoon. The money was discovered hidden in a vehicle that was leaving the U.S. at the Ysleta international crossing at the El Paso POE.

The seizure was made Sunday evening when a 2006 Nissan X-Terra arrived at the outbound inspection station at the Ysleta crossing. CBP personnel interviewed the driver and received a negative declaration for any currency in excess of $10,000, weapons or ammunition. CBP personnel selected the vehicle for a secondary exam during which they located several bundles of currency hidden within a speaker box.

CBP officers arrested a 28-year-old male driver, of Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico. He was turned over to Homeland Security Investigations agents to face charges associated with the failed smuggling attempt.

Needless to say, this is a textbook example of bulk cash smuggling. I’m 99% certain this guy was up to no good, that the money had neither a legitimate source nor a legitimate intended use. As such (and even more-so because smuggling was involved), there is a infinitesimally (immeasurably, or incalculably small) small chance he could ever hope to get this money back.

This differs greatly from the types of people we love to help get seized money back from Customs. Our average currency seizure client has more than $10,000 seized either entering or exiting the country for a failure to report it, for dividing it, and occasionally for also hiding it.

Has customs taken your hard earned money?

If customs took your hard earned money, you should hire a lawyer. You should also read our trusted customs money seizure legal guide and contact us for a free cash seizure consultation by clicking the contact buttons on this page.



U.S. Customs & Border Protection Officer's uniform, featuring the seal of the agency.

CBP Seizes $38k Bulk Cash in Texas

I’ve not had much time for blogging about customs law, as CBP enforcement seems to have increased lately. But, I did see this story come up about a seizure of money in…. suprise: Texas! Not Dulles this time.

The money seizure occurred at the Del Rio International Bridge. Just three days ago, Customs officers stopped and searched a Mexican woman driving her vehicles out of the United States. During the course of the inspection, CBP found that she had “several bundles of cash in her possession” that totaled $37,901.

Although the story does not explain how, or if, the money was hidden, it does say that she will be prosecuted for bulk cash smuggling. It’s odd that, most of the time these seizure stories form CBP in Texas explain how they money was hidden but only calls those violations a failure to report; in this case, it is not explained how the money was hidden, but is called bulk cash smuggling. It’s becoming my pet peeve.

On to the story:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Del Rio International Bridge recently seized more than $30,000 in U.S. currency from a woman leaving the United States bound for Mexico.

On Dec. 19, CBP officers, conducting outbound inspections at the Del Rio Port of Entry, encountered a 2010 SUV departing the United States for Mexico. During inspection, officers discovered the woman driving the SUV had several bundles of cash in her possession. Officers seized $37,901 in undeclared U.S. currency.The driver, a 30-year-old U.S. citizen residing in Mexico, was turned over to Homeland Security Investigations for federal prosecution for bulk cash smuggling – 31 USC § 5332.

“Seizing undeclared currency at ports of entry serves to deprive criminal organizations of their profits,” said Port Director Alberto D. Perez, Del Rio Port of Entry. “Large amounts of currency may be imported and exported with the proper documentation.

“Failure to report international transit of $10,000 or more could mean forfeiture of funds and criminal sanctions.”

CBP Seizes $180k at Mexican Border

While most of our currency seizure clients are have their money taken from customs at an airport, we occasionally represent people who have had their money seized at a border crossing, such as the Ambassador Bridge or the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel. In this story from CBP, Customs seized nearly $200,000 from a man traveling to Mexico by car. This sounds like a classic case of bulk cash smuggling, and is no doubt the reason for the seizure.

In this case, we could give the man the benefit of the doubt and presume the legitimate source is an inheritance from his rich Uncle; and the intended use, perhaps he was paying cash for a nice place on the Yucatan (we’ve handled stranger cases). If we assume he proves these two things, then this situation was completely avoidable. But now, even if criminal charges are ultimately not filed or if he is ultimately found not guilty of a crime, he will still face civil forfeiture of the money and, if he wants it back, will have to fight for its return administratively, or in the courts.

Here’s the story (full version here):

Wood table filled with $180,000 dollars seized by the CBP.
Wood table filled with $180,000 dollars seized by the CBP on Oct. 14 after CBP officers working outbound inspections at the Hidalgo-Reynosa.

The seizure occurred on Oct. 14 after CBP officers working outbound inspections at the Hidalgo-Reynosa International Bridge referred a white 2001 Honda Civic for a secondary inspection. An inspection of the vehicle resulted in the discovery of several bundles of U.S. currency totaling $185,173 that was concealed within the Civic. CBP OFO seized the currency and the vehicle as well.

CBP OFO arrested the man who were [sic] subsequently released to the custody of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents for further investigation.

Our customs law firm handles currency/money seizures made by customs in Detroit and around the country; call (734) 855-4999 to consult with a customs lawyer today (you can read our popular page on Responding to a Customs Money Seizure HERE). We are able to assist with cash seized by customs nationwide, including Detroit, Chicago, Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Orlando.

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?
  11. Statute of Limitations for Currency Reporting Violations
  12. Filing a Petition for Seized Currency (with Sample and Tips) with CBP
  13. Don’t Talk About Your Customs Currency Seizure Case