Tag: canine

Stacks of US Currency lined up on a long table in front of a CBP sign

Dulles CBP Seizes $46K in Cash from Ghana and Egypt bound travellers


CBP cash seizures in Dulles are on the rise with increased international travel. In this story, Dulles airport CBP officers seized $20,404 from a man traveling to Ghana and a couple traveling to Egypt with $26,043.

The man traveling to Ghana made an inaccurate report, but he still reported more than $10,000. But, his mistake was 1) his report was not accurate and 2) he did not report the money until he was asked. You need to file the FinCen 105 currency and monetary instrument report (CMIR) before you are asked to do so, otherwise it is obvious you had the intention of not reporting it until you were asked, and so, at minimum, would be responsible for an attempted violation of 31 USC 5316, failure to report cash.

The couple traveling from Dulles airport to Egypt that had their cash seized by CBP are in a tougher situation though. In their case, some of their money was “concealed inside a suitcase liner.” This allows CBP to claim the money was hidden with the intent it would not be found by Customs, which is the classic definition of bulk cash smuggling. Bulk cash smuggling leads to higher penalties, and a higher rate of forfeiture (permanent loss of all or part of the money).

The story follows below….

STERLING, Va. – The best way for travelers to keep their currency when traveling is to truthfully report all of it to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer during inspection. CBP has repeated that advice for years, yet officers still encounter travelers at Washington Dulles International Airport who ignore that simple advice.

For example, CBP officers at Dulles airport recently seized more than $46,000 combined during two separate currency seizures from travelers departing the United States.

In the most recent case on Sunday, CBP officers inspected a U.S. citizen destined to Ghana. The man initially reported, both verbally and in writing, that he possessed $14,000. However, officers discovered a total of $19,904 in his carry-on bag, and an additional $500 in his backpack for a total of $20,404. Officers seized the currency, returned $404 to the man as humanitarian relief, and released him to continue his travel.

Earlier, on April 26, a CBP currency detector dog alerted to a couple’s carry-on bags and the couple, who were destined to Egypt, reported that they possessed $15,000. During an examination, CBP officers discovered additional currency in the woman’s purse and even more concealed inside a suitcase liner for a total of $26,043. CBP officers seized the currency, then returned $1,043 as a humanitarian relief and released the couple to continue their travel.

“We cannot make this point enough, travelers can carry all the currency they want to and from the United States, but U.S. federal law requires them to make a formal report on amounts of $10,000 or greater. It’s that simple,” said Daniel Escobedo, CBP’s Area Port Director for the Area Port of Washington, D.C. “The consequences for violating US currency reporting laws are severe – from missing a flight and interrupting vacation plans, to seeing all their currency seized by a Customs and Border Protection officer, and to even facing criminal prosecution for bulk currency smuggling. It’s too easy to just be truthful.”

Has Dulles CBP seized your cash?

If Dulles CBP has 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 Dulles’ 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.

Dulles CBP Seizes $19000 in Smuggled Cash

In what is ominous to me, CBP in Dulles says they “continue to encounter travelers who attempt to smuggle unreported currency out of the United States.” By smuggling, they mean bulk cash smuggling. And at Dulles airport, for sure, bulk cash smuggling (watch our bulk cash smuggling video here) means they will be trying to keep 50% of the seized money as a penalty, even if legitimate source and intended use are proven.

It’s ominous to me because Dulles CBP is just one of the toughest CBP ports around the country to get money back from, and when you can get it back, the penalties can be very high. The ominous quote is from a recent news releases about a couple heading to Morocco with $19,000, who only reported $8,000.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at Washington Dulles International Airport continue to encounter travelers who attempt to smuggle unreported currency out of the United States.

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.

In the latest seizure, a couple destined for Casablanca, Morocco on December 28 acknowledged that they understood federal currency reporting requirements and reported verbally and in writing that they possessed $8,000. CBP currency detector dog Cato alerted to their carry-on baggage and officers discovered additional currency. In total, CBP officers discovered $19,651. Officers seized $19,000 and released $651 to the couple for humanitarian purposes and allowed them to continue their trip.

Has Dulles CBP seized your money?

If Dulles CBP seized your money, we urge you not to try to do it yourself. You will not be happy with the outcome. 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.

A picture of CBP canine who discovered unreported cash that was seized by CBP at Dulles Airport in front of the table of cash emblazoned with CBP logo.

Dog Detects Federal Currency Reporting Violations at Dulles Airport

U.S. Customs & Border Protection uses canines to assist its law enforcement functions. When most people think of police dogs, they think of their use in detecting drugs; but they can also be used to find the presence of unreported cash.

And that is the subject of a recent story from CBP in Dulles airport when they seized nearly $75,000 from two men bound for Serbia (also apparently involved in unlawful cash structuring).

STERLING, Va. — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized a total of $73,900 from two Serbia-bound travelers for violating federal currency reporting requirements on Monday at Washington Dulles International Airport.

Neither man was criminally charged. CBP officers released the travelers to continue their journey.

CBP officers initially stopped the first man in the jetway to the airplane and asked how much currency he possessed.  The man reported $1,500 verbally and in writing.  CBP officers inspected his carry-on baggage and jacket and discovered four envelopes that contained approximately $50,000.

Meanwhile, CBP’s currency detector dog “Nicky” alerted to another passenger, who then claimed to be the first subject’s son-in-law.  The second man reported that he possessed $7,000, but a subsequent inspection discovered two envelopes in his jacket that contained approximately $20,000.

CBP officers verified that the currency totaled $73,900 in U.S. dollars between the two family members.

In this case, the violations of the federal currency reporting laws did not lead to criminal charges, but theoretically they could be charged within 5 years due to the statute of limitations period. But as always, federal currency reporting laws mean that, even when not criminally charged, asset forfeiture of the cash by customs will still occur. In this case, CBP seized almost all of the money. To get it back, these men will have to show that the money has no nexus to illegal activity and, even if they can do that, they will still likely face a loss of at least 50% of the money; CBP’s guidelines for structuring and bulk cash smuggling are far more stringent than their guidelines for a failure to report.

The Loudon Times-Mirror reported on the same story, and added that the dog, Nicky, is a Malinois dog, and that CBP returned $1,500 to the men and released them to continue their trip, which is generally called a “humanitarian release” by CBP.

Have you violated the federal currency reporting regulations?

If you violated the federal currency reporting regulations, you really need a lawyer. Read our trusted customs money seizure legal guide and can contact us for a free cash seizure consultation by clicking the contact buttons on this page.

CBP in Laredo, Texas, seized more than $130,000 from 2 Mexican nationals return to Mexico

CBP Laredo Seizes > $130K in Cash

Last weekend, CBP officers in Laredo, Texas seized more than $130,000 from two Mexican nationals who were leaving the United States to return to Mexico. What is noteworthy about the story is that the money was apparently not smuggled in a hidden compartment within the vehicle, but was found during a “non-intrusive inspection” by CBP officers and a canine.

Here’s the news release:

LAREDO, Texas – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers assigned to work outbound inspection operations at the Lincoln-Juarez Bridge seized over $130,000 in U.S. currency in a single enforcement action over the weekend.

The seizure occurred on Sunday, Aug. 28, when a CBP officer referred a 2014 Volkswagen Vento for an intensive inspection. The vehicle was driven by a 33-year-old Mexican male from Monterrey, Nuevo Leon and a 25-year-old Mexican male passenger also from Monterrey, Nuevo Leon. A canine and non-intrusive inspection by CBP officers resulted in the discovery of 13 packages containing $136,424 in U.S. currency.

“CBP officers not only ensure that inbound travelers and cargo comply with U.S. laws and regulations but also conduct outbound examinations to safeguard the revenue of the U.S. and protect against unreported exportations of bulk U.S. currency, which often can be proceeds from alleged illicit activity,” said Port Director Gregory Alvarez, Laredo Port of Entry. “This weekend’s significant currency seizure is a direct reflection of our continuing commitment to enforcing federal currency reporting requirements.”

The writer of the news release seems to indicate these people may be innocent of any crime; no names are revealed and the word “alleged” is used to describe “illegal activity.” That’s unusual because the story does say that both men were arrested and handed over to Homeland Security Investigations.

Has Laredo CBP seized your cash?

If CBP in Laredo 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.

$19k Customs Currency Seizure Mitigated at Airport On-site

U.S. Customs seized $19,050 from a U.S. citizen leaving for Lebanon at Dulles Airport on Monday using a currency detection dog. The seizure of $19,050, was mitigated on-site, meaning the passenger did not have to go through the petition process — with its inherent delays — to get the seized money back.

As far as I am aware, on-site mitigation is only available to those persons who are transporting less than $25,000, and who mis-report an amount that is 5% or less in variance with the actual amount being transported. I am not sure how this case qualified for on-scene mitigation because the mis-report was greater than 5%, but this gentleman should consider himself lucky.

Here is the FULL STORY, excerpted below:

The man was boarding a flight to Lebanon via Germany when he was identified by a CBP officer, working with his currency detection canine, as carrying a rp_IAD-K9-24k-Seizure-LOW-042114.jpgsignificant amount of currency. The man repeatedly declared $15,000 however; a total of $19,050 was discovered on his person and in his luggage. CBP officers seized the $19,050, assessed a $1,000 penalty for failure to properly report the currency, and returned $18,050 to the traveler.

There is no limit to how much currency travelers can import or export; however federal law requires travelers to report to CBP amounts exceeding $10,000 in U.S. dollars or equivalent foreign currency.

“Travelers who refuse to comply with federal currency reporting requirements run the risk of having their currency seized, and may potentially face criminal charges,” said Wayne Biondi, CBP Area Port Director for the Port of Washington Dulles. “The traveler was given the opportunity to truthfully report his currency. The easiest way to hold on to your money is to report it.”

If you have had currency seized from Customs do not try to respond yourself but hire our firm, because we know what we are doing and have successfully handled many cases like yours. If you have questions, please give us a call at (734) 855-4999. We are able to assist with cash seized by customs around the country, including Chicago, Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, Orlando and many other places, and not just locally in Detroit.