Tag: bulk cash smuggling

$21,000 in cash seized by CBP at Washington-Dulles seized for currency reporting violations

Traveler Fails to Report $21,000 Seized by CBP

Yesterday, CBP publicized a cash seizure from a female traveler who failed to report $21,000 in cash she was transporting before boarding her plane at Dulles airport.

The woman, bound for Pakistan via Turkey, verbally reported carrying $6,000. Thereafter, a customs officer searched her bags and discovered a total of $21,255.

This is a classic violation of 31 USC 5316, where a person fails to report cash being transported by them to CBP. A report of currency must be made on form FinCEN 105 and presented to CBP before departure. It is not enough to verbally report the money when asked.

CBP will also surely allege that this is also an instance of bulk cash smuggling, because she was provided with an opportunity to disclosure the full amount of money she carried, but only reported $6,000. They later had to find the full $21,255 in her bag.

Here’s the full story, from CBP:

STERLING, Va. – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized $21,255 in unreported currency from a U.S. woman destined to Pakistan Friday at Washington Dulles International Airport.

While CBP officers conducted an outbound inspection of passengers on a Turkey-bound flight, officers encountered the woman and asked how much currency she possessed. She reported $6,000 and confirmed that she understood federal currency reporting requirements. Officers discovered several envelopes in her carry-on baggage with a total of $21,255 in U.S. currency. Officers released $255 to the woman for humanitarian purposes and seized $21,000 for violating federal currency reporting requirements.

It is legal to carry large sums of currency into or out of the United States. However, federal law requires that travelers who possess $10,000 or more in currency or other monetary instruments must report it all to a CBP officer at the airport, seaport, or land border crossing when entering or leaving the country. Read more about currency reporting requirements.

Consequences for violating U.S. currency reporting laws are severe; penalties may include seizure of most or all of the traveler’s currency, and potential criminal charges.

Have you had money seized by CBP?

If CBP has seized your cash, you need a lawyer. Read our trusted customs money seizure legal guide and can contact us for a free currency seizure consultation by clicking the contact buttons on this page.

Stacks of U.S. currency seized by CBP for not being reported in the amount of $142,000

Unreported Cash Seized by CBP in Nogales

CBP officers in Nogales, Arizona, made some big cash seizures this week. In the first case, $143,000 was seized and in the second case, only $20,000 was seized.

Here’s the story:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Field Operations, officers arrested 2 Mexican nationals and a U.S. citizen for separate alleged attempts to smuggle nearly $163,000 in unreported currency …. through the Port of Nogales earlier this week.

Officers conducting outgoing operations at the Dennis DeConcini Crossing referred a 28-year-old Mexican national man for additional inspection of his Chevy SUV, as he attempted to enter Mexico through the port Monday afternoon. The search of the vehicle led to the discovery of several packages within the left quarter panel. The packages contained more than $142,000 in unreported U.S. currency.

Tuesday afternoon, officers conducting outbound operations at the Mariposa Crossing referred a 22-year-old Tucson woman for a further search of her Honda sedan, as she attempted to cross into Mexico through the port. Officers searched the subject, who had two bundles of unreported U.S. currency inside of her purse containing more than $20,000.

Officers seized the currency, … and vehicles, while the subjects were arrested and then turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.

Note how the $143,000 was hidden in the quarter panel of the vehicle (i.e., a body panel); and then how the $20,000 seized from the 22 year old woman was just inside her purse.

In both cases, the failure to report the money, coupled with the fact it was not presented to CBP and was in plain view, will allow CBP to allege that the money was hidden with the intent it not be reported to CBP, which is considered bulk cash smuggling.

The story also states everyone was arrested, which is for me a little surprising in the case of the woman with $20,000. I have a lot of clients who do not report amounts cash at or above that level, and they do not get arrested or face criminal sanctions. That leads me to believe this money she seized had connections to illegal activity.

Have you had money seized by CBP?

If CBP has seized your cash, you need a lawyer. Read our trusted customs money seizure legal guide and can contact us for a free currency seizure consultation by clicking the contact buttons on this page.

Sixty-thousand dollars hidden in the firewall of a vehicle seized by U.S. Customs & Border Protection

CBP Arizona Seizes Currency Smuggled in Car

In a story today, CBP tells the tale of a seizure of nearly $70,000 of bulk cash which was smuggled in the firewall panel of a Mexican national bringing the money into the United States. The full story, which also includes the story about a meth seizure, is here, but follows below:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Field Operations, officers arrested a Mexican national . . . fore alleged attempts to smuggle more than $69,000 through Arizona Ports of Entry.

Officers at the Port of Naco referred a 39-year-old Naco, Arizona, man for additional inspection of his Hyundai sedan, as he attempted to enter the U.S. through the port Wednesday morning. After a CBP narcotics detection canine alerted to a scent it is trained to detect, the search of the vehicle led to the discovery of six packages concealed in the firewall. The packages were determined to contain more than $69,000 of unreported currency.

Officers seized the … currency and vehicles, while [the subject was] arrested and then turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security.

The fact of the arrest indicates they clear thought the money was tied to illegal sources, even though every failure to report and bulk cash smuggling offense is a crime and makes someone subject to arrest — more on that here: Failure to Report Cash to Customs and Bulk Cash Smuggling Seizure.

Have you had money seized by CBP in Arizona?

If CBP in Arizona has seized your cash, you need a lawyer. Read our trusted customs money seizure legal guide and can contact us for a free currency seizure consultation by clicking the contact buttons on this page.

$3,700 in counterfeit cash seized by CBP from an Argentinian woman laid out on a metal table presented by a CBP officer

CBP Seizes Over $72K in Undeclared Currency in Florida

Today, a story came out of Orlando, Florida, about a pretty large cash seizure. The story — which is light on the details about where they were from or where they were going — is a classic case failure to report combined with a bulk cash smuggling offense.

It is a failure to report because they did not file the FinCen 105 upon entry or departure with the customs officer in charge of the airport. It is also a failure to report because when stopped, they made an inaccurate declaration as to the amount seized; the reported first $15,000, then $51,000, but were ultimately found with $72,000.

It will likely be seized because the money was not reported — and mis-reported — and also hidden from view, such as someone might hide it prevent to discovery by CBP. These two elements — failure to report and hiding — will allow CBP to presume that the money was hidden with the intent it not be reported to CBP, which is the essence of a bulk cash smuggling offense.

Here’s the story:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in Florida reminds travelers of the requirement to report currency amounts of $10,000 or more to CBP when traveling to or from the United States. CBP officers seized over $72,000 in unreported currency from a traveler at Orlando International Airport (MCO) for failing to declare this week.

The individual initially said they possessed $15,000 to CBP officers and further misstated the amount as $51,000 in writing. CBP officers subsequently discovered bundles of cash inside a backpack.

International travelers who arrive or depart the United States in possession of more than $10,000 or equivalent foreign currency are required to report all currency to CBP officers and complete a Treasury Department Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) form.

Consequences for violating U.S. currency reporting laws are severe and may result in seizure of the currency and/or arrest.

Have you had money seized by CBP in Orlando?

If CBP in Orlando has seized your cash, you need a lawyer. Read our trusted customs money seizure legal guide and can contact us for a free currency seizure consultation by clicking the contact buttons on this page.

Pile of $715,010 in Cash Seized by CBP

HUGE $715K cash seizure by CBP

CBP in Texas made a HUGE cash seizure totaling $715,010. That’s not a typo: SEVEN HUNDRED FIFTEEN THOUSAND AND 10 DOLLARS.

Astonishing. 

The story below is light on details, except to say that the cash was discovered in 32 packages on a commercial bus, and that it was all seized. It was mostly in $20 bills.

No word about arrests whatsoever, or if there were people on the bus who were involved. That’s kind of odd. Most stories about money seizures indicate who was involved, and what happened to them.

Could it be that 32 different people traveling on the bus were each carrying around $22,324 in cash back home to their families in Mexico, or were going for some extended vacations?

If not, this is a great example of bulk cash smuggling. That is, hiding cash with the intent to not file the currency report (FinCen 105).

Here’s the story from CBP:

HIDALGO, Texas—Officers with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Field Operations (OFO) at the Hidalgo International Bridge intercepted $715,010 in unreported U.S. currency in a commercial bus attempting to enter into Mexico.

“This seizure certainly ranks amongst the most notable currency interceptions accomplished by the Hidalgo Port of Entry,” said Port Director Carlos Rodriguez. “In our past encounters, these large sums of unreported currency are usually associated with illicit activities and OFO will seize these proceeds.”

This seizure occurred on Sept. 24 after CBP officers conducting outbound operations at the Hidalgo-Reynosa International Bridge referred a commercial bus for further inspection. A thorough examination, which included the utilization of a non-intrusive imaging (NII) system, resulted in officers discovering 32 packages containing U.S. currency hidden within the bus. The currency denominations included $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100, with the majority being $20 bills.

CBP OFO seized the currency, the commercial bus and the case remains under investigation by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents.

It is not a crime to carry more than $10,000, but it is a federal offense not to declare currency or monetary instruments totaling $10,000 or more 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. An individual may petition for the return of currency seized by CBP officers, but the petitioner must prove that the source and intended use of the currency was legitimate.

Have you had money seized by CBP in Texas?

If CBP in Texas has seized your cash, you need a lawyer. Read our trusted customs money seizure legal guide and can contact us for a free currency seizure consultation by clicking the contact buttons on this page.

Image of $221,319 in cash seized by U.S. Customs & Border Protection in Roma, Texas.

CBP Seizes $221,319 Cash at Falcon Dam, Texas

CBP officers in Texas confiscated $221,319 from the passengers of a vehicle heading to Mexico. The story from CBP explains the seizure happened the Saturday of Labor Day weekend, when CBP stopped a vehicle drive by a 41 year old male outbound to Mexico.

The headline and the story itself indicate that the money was simply undeclared; however, the details of the incident describe the money was hidden in eight bundles within the vehicle.

Here’s the full story:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Field Operations officers at the Falcon Dam Port of Entry recently seized over $200,000 in unreported currency hidden within a passenger vehicle during an outbound examination, Aug. 31.

“Our frontline CBP officers continue to maintain resolute vigilance in both the inbound and outbound environments and their attention to detail helped to detect a significant load of unreported currency,” said Port Director Andres Guerra, Roma/Falcon Dam Port of Entry. “Large outbound currency seizures like this deny the ability of transnational criminal organizations to profit from alleged illicit activity, impacting them directly.”

The seizure occurred on Aug. 31 at Falcon Dam Port of Entry when a CBP officer conducting outbound examinations selected a 2012 Nissan Maxima driven by a 41-year-old male Lawful Permanent Resident for examination. After initial inspection, CBP officers conducted an intensive physical examination and discovered eight bundles containing a total of $221,319 in unreported currency hidden within the vehicle.

CBP officers seized the currency and arrested the driver. The case was turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) special agents for further investigation.

It is not a crime to carry more than $10,000, but it is a federal offense not to declare currency or monetary instruments totaling $10,000 or more 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. An individual may petition for the return of currency seized by CBP officers, but the petitioner must prove that the source and intended use of the currency was legitimate.

Have you had money seized by CBP in Texas?

If CBP in Texas has seized your cash, you need a lawyer. Read our trusted customs money seizure legal guide and can contact us for a free currency seizure consultation by clicking the contact buttons on this page.

About $96,000 seized by CBP in Arizona laid out on table

CBP Officers Seize Cash in Nogales

Here’s a CBP money seizure story that first popped up in May in one of CBP’s news releases, but it’s worth going over again because it resulted in an arrest and seizure of $96,000.

TUCSON, Ariz. –U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at Arizona’s Port of Nogales arrested two Mexican nationals & a U.S. citizen involved in connection with a pair of separate failed smuggling attempts over the past weekend.  

Friday evening, officers at the Mariposa Crossing referred performing outbound operations a 26-year-old Mexican male and his 28-year-old U.S. citizen passenger for further inspection of his Ford sedan. A search of the vehicle, led to the discovery of two large bundles of unreported U.S. currency that were hidden within the car’s rear seats. The packages contained nearly $96,000.

Officers seized the drugs and currency, as well as both vehicles. The subjects were all arrested and then turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.

Has CBP seized your cash?

If CBP has seized your cash, you need a lawyer. Read our trusted customs money seizure legal guide and can contact us for a free currency seizure consultation by clicking the contact buttons on this page.

Summer CBP Cash Seizure News Roundup

It’s been a busy summer for customs and trade law attorneys. Enforcement by U.S. Customs & Border Protection has been up across the board. There’s been some news releases by CBP, but many I haven’t had time to post here and provide the usual analysis. Instead of letting them all out over the next few weeks, to catch myself I am just going to do a cash seizure news roundup of stories that I did not get to this summer.

Hold on tight, here we go:

CBP seizes $1.6 Million inside Propane Gas Tank

On May 23, U.S. Coast Guard Sector San Juan requested assistance from a CBP Air and Marine Operations (AMO) Marine Patrol Unit for a reported disabled vessel.   A CBP marine unit found a vessel dead in the water 16 miles southwest of Cabo Rojo, with two men from the Dominican Republic on-board.

The vessel and its occupants were navigating to to Santo Domingo from the British Virgin Islands, when the vessel’s engine failed.

The boat was for an inspection by CBP. A CBP canine alerted to the presence of a familiar odor from a large propane gas tank.  Inside the tank the CBPO, AMO agent and U.S. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agents discovered large sums of U.S. currency. 

The undeclared currency totaled $1,638,700. CBP seized the currency under failure to declare and bulk cash smuggling laws.

See the full story here.

$3.7 Million Abandoned Cash Seized in Puerto Rico

In July, CBP patroling waters around Puerto Rico “detected a vessel navigating without lights” towards the U.S. Virgin Islands. [ . . . ] The vessel abruptly turned around [and landed] landing the vessel . . . [CBP and other federal agency agents] pursued the vessel and its occupants, who were seen unloading duffle bags from the vessel, immediately abandoning their cargo and absconding. The agents found five abandoned duffle bags containing bulk US currency. U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agents, along with agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), seized Sunday $3.7 million in undeclared currency found inside five duffle bags on board an abandoned vessel near the coast of Fajardo. The undeclared currency totaled $3,700,000. CBP seized the currency under failure to declare and bulk cash smuggling laws. See the full story here

$372k in Beach Duffle Bag Seized in St. Thomas (USVI)

In July [CBP agents] “received a call a concerned citizen about a suspicious boat, making landfall in Bordeaux Bay, St. Thomas. The caller stated that three men were onboard and intentionally beached a 20ft Boston Whaler. The [agents] responded by vehicle to the area and noticed a single duffel bag still sitting in the sand near the boat with a Puerto Rico registration. Agents conducted a sweep of the area but were unable to locate any of the suspects. Inside the duffel bag, agents found an undetermined amount of cash in vacuum-sealed packages.  The undeclared currency totaled $372,000.  U.S. Homeland Security Investigations assumed custody of the seized currency and investigation.

See the full story here  

Agents Seize Over $100k in Bulk Cash

On May 20, CBP agents conducted a vehicle stop on a 2007 Silver Honda Element traveling westbound on Interstate 8, near Sunrise Highway.

After a brief interview, agents determined that a 33-year-old male driver and his 28-year-old female passenger were Mexican citizens with the proper paperwork to enter and work in the United States.  However, during a Border Patrol canine detection search, the canine alerted to the interior of the vehicle. 

Agents discovered 53 bundles of cash totaling $102,998, hidden in a space around the gear selector and behind the speakers of the vehicle. Agents placed the man and woman under arrest and they will be held pending criminal proceedings.

See the full story here.

$100,00 seized near Blythe, California

[A]gents conducted a vehicle stop on a four-door sedan traveling eastbound on Interstate 10. Agents requested, and were granted consent, to search the vehicle after the driver, a male 23-year-old United States citizen, admitted to having drug paraphernalia. During the search, agents located a trash bag containing $96,565 in cash concealed in the rear compartment of the vehicle. Additional evidence was discovered in the vehicle linking the money to drug smuggling activities. The driver claimed that the cash did not belong to him and it was seized by agents.

See the full story here.

 

Hundred dollar bills seized by CBP in Detroit

CBP Cash Seizures and Enforcement Increase at Detroit Metro Airport

A story that CBP in Detroit is increasing cash reporting enforcement at Detroit Metro Airport was all over the local news headlines last week (see here, and here), but because of it, I was not able to post and comment about it until now (yes, it’s busy).

CBP Detroit has released mid-(fiscal)-year statistics in the past, and they have done so again this year. They usually come around May (we commented on it in 2017, further back in 2015 and first in 2013).

Most of the seizures happen at Detroit Metropolitan Airport in Romulus, Michigan. CBP Oficcers there are very active in seizing money. And for good reason: lot’s of people don’t report it, or for some reason, think it’s illegal to carry cash (it’s not!). There’s a lot of people traveling with cash there, because it’s an ethnically diverse area and a connecting hub for many flights where people tend to use cash: China, India, and the Middle East.

How much of a difference is this over past years, really? Well, here’s a summary of all data from this story and comparing it to those we wrote about in years past,

  • October 1, 2016 to May 2, 2017 = $4.4 million (2+ quarters)
  • October 1, 2014 to September 30, 2015 = $10,067,095 (full year)
  • October 1, 2018 o March 31, 2019 = $3,852,252 (2 quarters)
  • October 1, 2017 to March 31, 2019 = $2,384,360 (2 quarters)

While we don’t have the exact data for an apples-to-apples comparison, it looks like Detroit CBP at Metro Airport is closely approximating the seizure activity of the their 2016-2017 fiscal year this year, when they seized $4.4 million by May 2.

We’ve definitely noticed an increase a clients reporting seized money from CBP, especially for this time of year. So far, our firm has handled 48 cases this fiscal year — and a total of 342 since 2012. We are by far the most experienced law firm to help get seized money back from Detroit Customs.

The original story can be read here, but is reproduced below:

ROMULUS, Mich. – During the first half of fiscal year 2019, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officers within the Detroit Field Office achieved a 62% increase in the seizure of unreported currency from international passengers as compared to the same period last year. A vast majority of the seizures occurred at Detroit Metro Airport.

Thus far in fiscal year 2019 starting October 1 and ending March 31, CBP has seized $3,852,262 in unreported currency from international travelers, this compares to $2,384,360 seized during the same time frame for fiscal year 2018.

CBP in conjunction with its Department of Homeland Security (DHS) partners, continues its efforts to prevent the unreported movement of currency through the Detroit Metropolitan Airport and other ports of entry within the Detroit Field Office.  

“This increase clearly demonstrates our continued commitment, and that of our partners, to protect the United States from proceeds of criminal activity,” said Devin Chamberlain, CBP Port Director at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

Bulk cash smuggling is the act of concealing currency and/or reportable monetary instruments with the intent of evading currency reporting requirements, in an attempt to transfer or transport the currency or monetary instrument(s) across an international border.

While it is not a crime to carry more than $10,000, federal currency reporting requirements state that travelers must report currency or monetary instruments totaling $10,000 or more [Editor: This is wrong. It’s “more than $10,000”) to a CBP officer upon entry to or exit from the United States.  Failure to declare may result in the seizure of the currency, and possible arrest.  An individual may petition for the return of currency seized [Editor: Or file a claim, make an offer in compromise, etc.], but the petitioner must prove that the source and intended use of the currency was legitimate.

Over $500,000 seized by Customs storedi n clear evidence bags

Customs Took $500k Cash at San Juan

There is a lot of cash that passes through the nation’s airports and seaports carried by a lot of people. As we have shown through the years here at this customs cash seizure blog and in our many articles about the procedures for getting back cash taken by Customs, sometimes that money is from illegal and illegitimate sources (i.e., the proceeds of a crime).

In a recent case, Customs in San Juan Puerto Rico confiscated nearly a half million dollars in two separate money seizure incidents. The full story is quoted below, but note these interesting points:

  • $350k was concealed within the rails of 9 suitcases, but the woman only reported carrying $1,600
  • $214k was concealed under the carpet of a cargo van, the male driver reported only carrying $4,000

On to the story:

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers seized over $500K in undeclared currency in two separate incidents at the Port of San Juan and the Luis Munoz Marin International Airport.

On Mar. 30, during luggage inspections authorized by federal law, CBP officers found US currency concealed within the rails of nine suitcases.

Rudi Alfonso Hernandez-Simon, 52, a citizen of the Dominican Republic failed to declare accurately having in his possession a total of $353,372. 

Mr. Hernandez-Simon, who also had a carry-on bag and one (1) backpack, declared to be transporting approximately $1,600.  

On Apr. 1, CBP officers inspecting outbound vehicles to be transported onboard the ferry M/V KYDON, bound to Santo Domingo, selected a Ford E-350 cargo vehicle for further examination.

The driver, a legal permanent resident with citizenship from the Dominican Republic, declared being in possession of $4,000. 

A CBP K-9 discovered thirteen (13) packages of US currency concealed under the carpet, between the driver and passenger seats, totaling $214,037. 

“Travelers can carry any amount of currency or monetary instruments into or out of the U.S. However, if the quantity is $10,000 or higher, they must formally report the currency to CBP,” indicated Edwin Cruz, San Juan Area Port Director.   “Failure to report may result in seizure of the currency, penalties and/or arrest.”

In each incident, CBP seized the currency under failure to declare and bulk cash smuggling laws.   U.S. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents arrested Mr. Hernandez-Simon who appeared before the US District Court in San Juan.  HSI will proceed with an investigation for both cases.