Tag: cash taken by cbp

U.S. CBP seized cash hidden in a shipping container at the San Juan, Puerto Rico seaport.

CBP Seized Cash in Shipping Container

Not every cash seizure made by U.S. Customs & Border Protection involves a traveler (or a drug mule) carrying cash into or out of the country at a border crossing or one of the many international airports. Sometimes cash is seized at border when it is hidden (smuggled) in mail, packages, or as recently happened in San Juan, Puerto Rico, CBP seized cash in a shipping container.

This isn’t the first time a shipping container has been the home for hundreds of thousands of dollars: see our other stories about CBP Uses Tech to Seize Hidden Cash and Seizure of $325,000 Smuggled leaving Puerto Rico.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers conducting outbound cargo operations at the San Juan Seaport seized approximately $415,000 US dollars on Wednesday. The money was found in hidden compartments of an appliance transported inside a cargo container.  The cargo was leaving Puerto Rico en route to the Dominican Republic onboard M/V Auto Baltic.

CBP personnel selected the container and its contents for an intensive examination after a preliminary non-intrusive inspection revealed certain anomalies. Subsequently a physical inspection revealed sixty three (63) bundles of hidden US Currency for an amount of $414,980.00 dollars.

Of course after CBP found the money in the container, it was seized. The full story indicates there was a failure to report (true, indeed), but in addition, this best falls under the laws against bulk cash smuggling; that is, when cash is hidden with the intent that it not be reported to government when entering or leaving the United States.

Proving legitimate source and legitimate intended use may be helpful in getting some of this money back. But not necessarily. And incredibly, sometimes people legitimately transfer money like this and avoid it going through typical bank channels. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with importing or exporting cash, so long as it reported and has no nexus to illegal activity.

But now that no report was filed for this movement of cash, it’s been seized. And bulk cash smuggling case are the most difficult to win.

Has CBP seized cash in a shipping container from you?

If CBP seized cash from you in a shipping container can learn more about the process from 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.


A picture of the more than $150,000 cash taken by CBP officers in Hidalgo, Texas.

Cash Taken by CBP in Hidalgo

Over $150,000 in cash was taken by CBP officers in Hidalgo, Texas, recently, when a 33 year old U.S. citizen who, apparently, decided to take some spending money with him on a trip to Mexico. Or not.

Like always, this cases where cash is found hidden in a vehicle it is almost certainly bulk cash smuggling. It’s very likely that, if you’ve got $150,000 hidden in your vehicle and wrapped in plastic bundles, you’re up to no good. But not always; maybe it’s rental car, or borrowed from someone else who likes to hide cash. It’s not likely, but I have former clients who were involved in stranger scenarios.

One thing I’d like to point out, as I must always do in these stories about cash taken by CBP… bulk cash smuggling, as described here, is when money is hidden with the intent to not report it to CBP. This does not appear to be a simple failure to report! Bulk cash smuggling is far more serious in terms of consequences and in the difficulty and skill involved in attempting to get the money back. The story:

Officers with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Field Operations (OFO) working outbound operations at the Hidalgo International Bridge arrested a man from Roma, Texas after discovering $150,202 in unreported U.S. currency within the vehicle he was driving.

CBP officers working outbound operations at the Hidalgo-Reynosa International Bridge on April 11, encountered a 33-year-old male U.S. citizen driving a silver GMC Terrain SUV at  the lanes the exit into Mexico. After the primary inspection, the driver and vehicle were referred for further examination and it was there that officers discovered four packages of U.S. currency hidden within the cargo area of the SUV.

CBP OFO seized the unreported currency, the vehicle and arrested the driver who was then released to the custody of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents for further investigation.

 “Our ability to deploy officers at the outbound lanes (going into Mexico), allows CBP Field Operations to target travelers who may be attempting to circumvent reporting requirements of merchandise or currency,” said Port Director Efrain Solis Jr., Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas Port of Entry. “People who choose not to comply with export regulations may be conducting business in an illicit manner and CBP will assert its authority to safeguard against these types of violations.”

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 cash taken by CBP?

If you’ve had cash taken by CBP, you can learn more about the process from 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.