Tag: Canada

CBP Detroit Seizes $1 Million Cash at Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron

There was a huge cash seizure at the Blue Water Bridge that connects Port Huron, Michigan with Sarnia, Ontario, which is all part of the Detroit Field Office of CBP.

The story is interesting, of course, not only because it involves more than $1 million in cash but for some other details given.

First, he left the United States and was turned back when trying to enter Canada. This means he violated 31 USC 5316 when he left the country without reporting the money.

If Canada had let him enter at this point, CBP would have never found out (unless CBSA found out, and then reported back to CBP).

But things didn’t work out like that. He was refused entry into Canada and sent back through US Customs.

And that’s when the trouble started. CBP probably had a heightened level of suspicion after his refusal from Canada, and so they asked him some questions; one of them was, “Do you have any currency or monetary instruments to declare?”

He said he did not. It is alleged, then, the officer gave him a chance to amend his declaration. So he then declared $990,000. Even if this report was accurate (which it turns out it wasn’t), the initial violation already occurred when he left the country without reporting it.

At this point, of course, CBP steps in and starts counting the money to see if his report is accurate and, also no doubt, is interested to know why the man is traveling with so much cash (it’s not illegal in-and-of itself, but it’s certainly unusual).

Here’s the story:

PORT HURON, Mich.— On August 22, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Office of Field Operations at the Blue Water Bridge seized over $1 million in currency from a U.S. citizen after he failed to report the funds to CBP officers.CBP counting cash after seizureThe male traveler and his family arrived in Port Huron after being refused entry into Canada. He initially denied carrying more than $10,000 to officials. Officers gave the traveler a chance to amend his declaration, which he modified to $990,000. Further inspection by CBP officers led to the discovery of two safes containing $1,096,584.

“There is no limit as to how much currency travelers can import or export as long as it is accurately declared to CBP,” said acting Port Director Geoffrey Stoffel.

Currency reporting rules require travelers to declare when they transport more than $10,000 in monetary instruments when travelling into or outside of the United States. Violators may face criminal penalties and forfeiture of the undisclosed funds.

In Detroit and Port Huron, I can typically resolve a cash seizure case in about 90 days from the date of seizure to the date of the return of (most of) the funds.

However, there are special rules for property that is worth more than $500,000. 19 USC 1610 says that if it’s worth more than $500,000, the money must be judicially forfeited. However, CAFRA still is going to apply and as such, a notice of seizure should be issued within the typical 60 day (but in certain cases, no later than 90 day) time-frame.

Even if the parties choose a petition, the case is going to be decided by CBP officials and Treasury Department officials. CBP policy says anything valued at more than $100,000 gets taken out of the hands of the local port-level officials (here, Detroit FP&FO) and instead goes to the Office of Regulations & Rulings at CBP HQ in Washington, DC.

The penalty, for a simple “failure to report” or inaccurate report, would be somewhere north of $50,000. If it’s considered bulk cash smuggling, which seems like a likely allegation in this case (given that he first passed through CBP without reporting it upon exiting the country), then the penalty can be 50% of the total amount seized.

The bottom line is, all the procedural options, complications, and safeguards surrounding seizures valued at more than $500,000, means this case is going to take more than the typical 90 days to resolve.

Has Detroit CBP seized your cash?

If CBP in Detroit seized your cash, you need a lawyer. Read our trusted customs money seizure legal guide (or watch the videos) and can contact us for a free currency seizure consultation by clicking the contact buttons on this page.
$200,000 in Cash Seized by Customs Detroit at the Ambassador Bridge

Ambassador Bridge Site of $230k Customs Money Seizure

Detroit’s Ambassador Bridge was the site of recent money seizures of more nearly $230,000 by Customs for failure to declare cash over $10,000, in commercial vehicles traveling into Canada.

Bundles of undeclared seized cash seized by Detroit CBP The news releases, below, says the money was taken because the driver failed to report the cash at the Ambassador Bridge (but I have to imagine there is a bulk cash smuggling violation somewhere in this, too).

Here’s the Tweet from Detroit’s director of field operations announcing the seizures…

This is the biggest seizure of undeclared cash in Detroit to hit the news in a while. I’m sure the discovery of this amount of money has caused a lot of controversy and interest at the port the last few days. Here’s the full story from CBP, below:

DETROIT — Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Office of Field Operations seized $200,000 in undeclared U.S. currency at the Canadian border early Tuesday morning.

The cash was discovered by officers during a series of outbound commercial vehicle inspections near the Ambassador Bridge port of entry.

The cache of currency was seized due to failure to report, and the driver was released without further incident.

Homeland Security Investigations continues to investigate the matter. Less than 24 hours earlier, $28,000 in undeclared currency was seized at the same site.

Update 11-12-21:

This week, notice was published of the intent to forfeit the above seized cash. Anyone with an interest in it has until January 11, 2021, to file a claim (unless they received personal notice in the mail, then other deadlines apply):

2021380100131801-0001-0000, Seized on 09/28/2021; At the port of DETROIT; U.S. Currency; 2000; EA; Valued at $200,000.00; For violation of 31 USC 5317(c)(2), 31 USC 5316(a)(1)(A), 31 USC 5332(c), 31 USC 5332(a)

Those legal references mean it was seized for bulk cash smuggling and a failure to report. This is a case I would have liked. The fact that notice has been posted publicly means that the time for filing a petition has past, or the interested person probably decided to file a claim or an offer in compromise (that would probably be a bad idea).

Has Detroit CBP seized your cash?

If CBP in Detroit 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.


Port of Buffalo, N.Y. border crossing check point where cbp seized cash for currency reporting violations.

Buffalo CBP Seized $207,500 of Concealed Cash

CBP in Buffalo made an enormous seizure of cash just 2 days ago. The cash seizure was made when CBP stopped a man who claimed he was traveling from Massachusetts to Mississauga, Canada to deliver some copper wire. During the encounter, a dog alerted to drugs and CBP officers then found a bag with $207,500 in it.

The man is not named so it would appear at this point he has not been criminally charged. Generally, when people are criminal charged CBP publishes their names. If they are not criminally charged, the person remains anonymous in stories like this. And there is no mention of an arrest.

This is a BIG seizure for CBP in Buffalo. For instance, in 2017 Buffalo CBP officers seized a TOTAL of $144,733. This seizure alone exceeds the the TOTAL cash seized in 20171

LEWISTON, N.Y. – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at the Lewiston Bridge seized $207,500 in unreported currency.

On July 15, CBP officers inspected a tractor trailer during an outbound inspection that was driven by a 28-year-old male who is a citizen of Canada. The driver claimed he was transporting a shipment of copper wire that he was hauling from Massachusetts and destined to Mississauga, Ontario. During questioning, the driver claimed to be traveling with $300 in U.S. currency. A CBP K9 alerted to the presence of narcotics during an inspection of the cab portion of the truck. A further inspection revealed a plastic shopping bag that contained multiple bundles of U.S. currency in ten large vacuum sealed bags. Subsequently, the currency was inventoried and determined to be a total of $207,500.

“Our CBP officers remain focused on enforcement amidst the continued border restrictions,” said Port Director Jennifer De La O. “They identified an individual and conveyance that needed further inspection, they coordinated with our partners at Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and they ensured that this criminal activity was disrupted.”

Has CBP Buffalo seized your cash?

If Buffalo CBP seized your cash, we urge you to call us for a consultation before considering doing it yourself. You probably will not be happy with the outcome if you do, based on their’ aggressive posture in most cases. Read our trusted customs money seizure legal guide (or watch the videos) and can contact us for a free currency seizure consultation by clicking the contact buttons on this page.

Notice of Penalty or Liquidated Damages Inccured by CBP

Failure to Report Arrival or Advance Electronic Cargo Information Penalty

U.S. Customs & Border Protection enforces many laws and regulations that concern arriving at the border, presenting merchandise to Customs, filing advance cargo information, and unloaded merchandise or off-loading passengers without authorization.

For instance, 19 CFR 123.92 requires advance cargo information for commercial shipments from Canada and Mexico be sent to CBP electronically 30 minutes or 1 hour prior to the “carrier’s reaching the first port of arrival in the United States, or such lesser time as authorized . . .” even if the carrier is just transiting through the United States.

Similarly, 19 USC 1433 requires that any vessel, vehicle, and aircraft report their arrival, and present all person and merchandise for inspection to a customs officer.

What happens if fail to report arrival or violate CBP’s entry regulations?

If you fail to report arrival, present false documents or paperwork, violate regulations regarding the entry and arrival of vehicles, or discharge passengers or merchandise without Customs authorization, you are liable to a penalty of $5,000, and possibly seizure of the conveyance and the merchandise stored in it.

If you have a prior offense, the amount can increase to $10,000. In the case of an unreported or improperly entered conveyance, Customs can impose the value of the merchandise (or if they conveyance itself is the merchandise… the value of the conveyance) in addition to the $5,000 or $10,000 standard penalty.

If receive a penalty for these failures under 19 USC 1436, we can file a petition for mitigation and you can expect your mitigated penalty to be reduced. The reduction varies on the type of violation, who committed, and the presence of aggravating or mitigating factors.

USMCA; United States Mexico Canada Agreement

The re-negotiation (and renaming) of NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) is one step closer to completion, and will go forward to be finalized by the governments of the United States, Mexico, and Canada.

The newly renamed agreement is the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMC Agreement), and the full text of the agreement is now available. The United States Trade Representative’s office has posted a series of fact sheet with key points of the new agreement.

The White House issued its own fact sheet: President Donald J. Trump Secures A Modern, Rebalanced Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico

President Trump held a news conference on the topic of the trade agreement. You can watch the conference by following this link on C-Span.