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.