Tag: cash seizure

CBP Seizes Cash Stashed in Truck in Nogales

Back in June, CBP made a big bust of $145,000 in “unreported” currency that was concealed in a vehicle’s rear quarter panels as the driver, a Mexican national, was trying to leave the United States for Mexico at the DeConcini border crossing.

[On June 18], [CBP] officers conducting routine outbound inspections referred a 46-year-old Mexican man for an inspection of his Chevrolet SUV at the DeConcini crossing. Officers found more than $145,000 in unreported U.S. currency in the vehicle’s rear quarter panels.

CBP seized the cash not just because it was “not reported” but because bulk cash smuggling — the fact of hiding the money in the quarter panel of a vehicle — is illegal and there are civil and criminal penalties for it.

Because of the southern border’s famous ties to the U.S.-Mexico illegal drug trade, it’s hard to imagine a scenario where this money was not connected to illegal activity. Even if this man came upon the money in a lawful way — for example, it was a life insurance payout from his deceased father — there is still no good reason for hiding the money in the quarter panel of his vehicle.

Or is there? Years ago, we represented a person who smuggled gold pieces across the U.S. Canadian border in the airbox of his vehicle, because they thought that would be safest spot for it on his journey through the U.S. to his return home in the heart of the country.

So, while it’s very likely that this guy who had $145,000 hidden in his truck is a mule for the drug trade, attempting to move illict cash across the border… it’s definitely not the only explanation. As it is famously said, truth is stranger than fiction.

Has CBP seized currency from you?

Need help proving law source and intended use of bulk cash? 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.

CBP checkpoint at the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel border crossing, with vehicles in the foreground.

Over $350k per day in cash seized by CBP in 2015

CBP tweeted the other day about cash seized by CBP in 2015, and drug seizures. On “a typical day,” CPP seized $356,396 in cash nationwide; based on the number for the Detroit field office, $27,581 was seized “on a typical day” in Detroit.

Because CBP Detroit was #2 in the nation for currency seizures based on total amount of seizures (totaling $10M), a large part of that national average is due to the efforts of CBP Officers at the ports in the Detroit Field Office, most especially the officers at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport.

The cash seizures are from you run-of-the-mill everyday traveler who are bringing money to the United States for tuition, medical treatment, and to establish a new life; other times, the cash seizures are part of a cash smuggling operation bringing the money into or out of the United States to further the illicit narcotics trade across the borders.

In Detroit, our experience is most of these cases are run-of-the-mill travelers coming into the United States with legitimate money that’s intended to be used for legitimate sources. With our experience and good documentation, we are help to get cash back from Customs after seizure.

The lesson? Prevent seizure of cash by reporting all currency, fully, accurately, and completely to U.S. Customs & Border Protection before they have a chance to stop and question you about it. Don’t be like the poor folks who had their cash seized by CBP in 2015, be sure to report your money. Remember, the duty it yours to report the transportation of more than $10,000 into or out of the country before you are ever asked to make a report!