Tag: criminal

CBP's Hold Harmless and Release Agreement Form

Class Action and CBP’s Hold Harmless and Release Agreement

An interesting cash seizure issue has been percolating across the Internet that arises from the class action (lawsuit) filed by a Texas nurse who is originally from Nigeria, though now a U.S. Citizen. As I understand it (after briefly skimming the complaint), she attempted to leave the country with around $40,000. She did not report the money to CBP as required, and so the money was seized for a failure to report.

What happened after her cash was seized?

Upon receiving the notice of seizure, instead of filing a petition she filed a claim. This is generally not the best way to get money back. When a claim is filed, you request the government to start judicial forfeiture proceedings, rather than administrative. I am greatly simplifying the process but, basically, when a claim is filed a judge will hear the case and eventually, some day, theoretically, you will have a trial by judge or jury about whether or not you can get seized money back. If a petition is filed, you instead are asking CBP to decide the matter internally without putting it before a judge.

Did the government file a complaint for forfeiture?

In this case, because she filed a claim the U.S. attorney had the discretion to decide whether or not they would pursue judicial forfeiture, or not. As luck would have it, the U.S. attorney declined by not filing a complaint for forfeiture. The way the plaintiff’s attorneys read the law (which so far, I agree with), this means CBP must return the money, immediately. Instead of doing that, CBP asked her to sign a hold harmless and release agreement that gave up her right to sue the government for seizure, and anything incidental (interest, emotional distress, etc.).

She refused to sign the hold harmless and release agreement, and CBP refused to return the money. Now she is suing the government for a whole host of things, including for a return of the cash. I don’t blame her for standing on principle; but she must not need the money terribly bad to tie this up in the courts.

What will the effect of this case be?

This case is very interesting, and raises a number of questions; first and foremost is, why did the U.S. attorney’s office not file a complaint for forfeiture once the claim was filed? I think they did not realize that once a claim is filed and a complaint for forfeiture is not filed timely, the property must be returned. In other words, someone at the U.S. attorney’s office did not realize the full consequences of what they were doing and probably believed that administrative forfeiture proceedings may still go forward.

Secondly, perhaps there were staffing issues (i.e., not enough personnel) that prevented the U.S. attorney’s office from wanting to handle judicial forfeiture proceedings, so they put it off.

In my experience, cash seizures at George Bush Intercontinental Airport are pretty infrequent compared with other ports. There might not be a lot of push to process these cases, especially so in Texas. With drugs and other contraband pouring across the border, why spend time seizing money likely to be from legitimate sources? They have better places to direct their resources then pretty obviously legitimately derived money.

What does this mean for people who have their cash seized?

This case, no matter the outcome, probably has little meaning for people who have had their cash seized. First, anytime a client of mine has filed a claim seeking judicial forfeiture, the U.S. attorney’s office has fought the forfeiture, usually tooth-and-nail. I have no reason to believe that this will result in less cash seizures nationally. I also do not believe this reflects a desire by the government to avoid judicial forfeiture if a claim is filed. I think this is probably a very unique case. Therefore, I see no reason to start filing claims instead of petitions in the hopes of getting back the money without a fight, and without proof of its source and use.

If this plaintiff wins her case, this will only mean that if a claim is filed and a case is not started by the government, you get the money back without having to sign a hold harmless and release agreement. I believe that this type of situation has very, very infrequently happened, and so the class number of people involved, although not insignificant, will be small.

Can she still be charged criminally for a failure to report cash?

Yes, this woman can still be charged criminally for a failure to report cash — she remains in that legal jeopardy. The failure to report transporting more than $10,000 in cash into or from the country is a criminal offense, and the government has 5 years from the date of seizure to charge her with this crime.

It does not matter that the money was legitimately derived or intended for legitimate uses, she still committed the crime of not reporting the cash; seizure is only one potential penalty, the others are arrest, fine, and imprisonment.

I suspect that the government is now weighing heavily the option of criminally charging the woman. I hope her attorney’s explained this risk to her. Maybe some things are worth waiting 5 years for.

In any event, I will be keeping a watchful on this case as it develops. Stay tuned for updates.

CBP Seizes $559,000 in Arizona

CBP seized more than a half-million dollars from a 37 year old Mexican man who had hid the cash in the spare tire of his truck when crossing the border from the United States to Mexico, CBP reports. Hiding the cash is bulk cash smuggling. The contains a somewhat odd and misleading statement about how the government brings criminal charges, more on that below this story:

TUCSON, Ariz. – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at Arizona’s Port of San Luis arrested a Mexican national after seizing more than $559,000 in undeclared currency.

Officers performing outbound inspections referred the 37-year-old man Thursday afternoon, when a search of his Chevy truck led to the discovery of packages inside of his spare tire. A count of the cash totaled more than $559,290.

Customs and Border Protection officers seized the currency, and turned the subject over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.

Federal law allows officers to charge individuals by complaint, a method that allows the filing of charges for criminal activity without inferring guilt. An individual is presumed innocent unless and until competent evidence is presented to a jury that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

The last paragraph contains the odd statements. Federal law does allow the use of complaint to file criminal charges, but without “inferring guilt”? My dictionary tells me “inferring” means to “deduce or conclude (information) from evidence and reasoning rather than from explicit statements”. That doesn’t make sense; I think what they meant to say was that a complaint can be filed, and by the filing of the complaint, the subject of the criminal investigation is “presumed innocent until proven guilty.”

The statement goes on to say that, sort of, but instead of saying “until proven guilty” it says “until competent evidence is presented to a jury that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.” The problem here is that evidence must be not only presented, but it is up for the jury to make the determination that the evidence is enough to be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. And I’m not sure about the use of the term “competent” evidence; generally speaking, for evidence to even be submitted to a jury it must be relevant and issues of “competence” would, to my mind, only apply to individuals giving testimony. If someone is not competent to testify (due to insanity, minority, etc.), they would not be allowed to testify and therefore not have that testimony heard by the jury.

 

 

Bulk cash hidden in the vehicle panels seized by U.S. Customs & Border Protection

CBP Seizes $273,005 in Smuggled Cash

CBP discovered over a quarter-million dollars hidden in the right-rear quarter-panel of a Dodge Durango that was being driven out of the United States into Mexico. The story states the driver of the vehicle was arrested for a failure declare cash over $10,000, but pretty obviously, this was more about a bulk cash smuggling offense (which is also a criminal offense).

CALEXICO, Calif. – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the Calexico ports of entry over the weekend intercepted $273,005 in unreported U.S. currency and discovered approximately $57,400 worth of methamphetamine in two separate smuggling attempts.

The first incident occurred on Apr. 7, at around 8 p.m., at the Calexico East port of entry, when CBP officers conducting southbound inspections of travelers heading to Mexico stopped a 2001 white Dodge Durango. Officers referred the driver for a more in-depth examination.

After an intensive examination that included an alert from a currency and firearms detector dog and use of the port’s imaging system, officers discovered 11 wrapped packages containing $273,005 in U.S. currency concealed inside the right rear quarter panel of the vehicle.

The driver, a 60-year-old male and lawful permanent resident of the United States, was arrested for failure to declare monetary instruments in value of more than $10,000 and was turned over to HSI agents for further investigation.

Theoretically, if the driver of the vehicle that the $250,000 cash was hidden inside of could prove that the money came from a legitimate source and had a legitimate intended use, he might be able to get some of the money back, even if he is criminally convicted. It’s not very likely, but it might be possible. The likelihood this could happen is reduced in bulk cash smuggling cases as opposed to failure to report cash cases due to the activity that is prohibited in the case of each law; in the case of failing to report cash, the prohibited activity is not reporting cash of more than $10,000. In this case of bulk cash smuggling, the prohibited activity is the concealing of cash with the intent to avoid filing the required cash report.

 

CBP Seizes $51k Cash and Make Arrest

At Miami airport, a traveler from Chile had a run in with U.S. Customs & Border Protection that resulted in a seizure of $51,777. As disclosed by the story below (full version HERE), it a resulted in an arrest, presumably for a currency reporting violation — reporting $20,000 even though he was transporting more than $50,000, and/or dividing his money between he and other travelers in what is commonly called a “structuring” violation.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Field Operations (OFO) officers at Miami International Airport (MIA) arrested a Chilean citizen Thursday for violating federal currency reporting requirements.

During a secondary inspection on July 9th, the man, who arrived from Santiago, Chile, reported possessing $20,000 USD. It was later discovered that the man had given money to three co-travelers in order to evade currency reporting requirements, an illegal practice known as currency structuring. In total, the cash added up to $51,777. CBP officers seized the money and arrested the subject. The subject and currency were turned over to Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD).

“Customs and Border Protection officers offer travelers multiple opportunities to truthfully report their currency, but those who refuse to comply with federal currency reporting requirements face severe consequences, including potential criminal charges,” said Christopher Maston, Port Director, Miami International Airport.

The only different nuance in this story which is not altogether apparent is why the currency was turned over to the local police department. Typically, Customs seizes the currency, but apparently Customs did not want to be bothered with it in this case. My hunch would be that, in this case, there was more going on (i.e., criminally) than the failure to report and structuring, which resulted in arrest and local law enforcement getting involved in the arrest and seizure.

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. Please read these other articles:

  1. Seizure of currency and monetary instruments by U.S. Customs
  2. Seizure for bulk cash smuggling into or out of the U.S.
  3. Structuring currency imports and exports
  4. Is it $10,000 per person?  Under what circumstances is filing a report with Customs for transporting more than $10,000 required?
  5. Criminal & civil penalties for failing to report monetary instrument transportation
  6. Is only cash currency subject to seizure by Customs?
  7. Responding to a Customs currency seizure
  8. How do I get my seized money back?
  9. Getting money seized by U.S. Customs back while staying overseas
  10. How long does it take Customs to decide a petition for a currency/monetary instrument seizure?
  11. Statute of Limitations for Currency Reporting Violations
  12. Filing a Petition for Seized Currency (with Sample and Tips) with CBP
  13. Don’t Talk About Your Customs Currency Seizure Case

 

 

Statute of Limitations for Currency Reporting Violations

This is an article about the statute of limitations for currency reporting violations (failure to report monetary instruments over $10,000, bulk cash smuggling, and structuring); in other words, how soon after an offense is committed (or when the currency is seized) that the government must bring criminal charges against you before they are prevented by the statute of limitations. If you want to skip to that part and don’t want to learn some fascinating facts about the most intact T-Rex skeleton ever found, and how one of its discoverers was pursued by the government for allegedly failing to report a currency and monetary instruments over $10,000, scroll down to the next heading.

Currency Reporting Violations and Sue the Dinosaur

Like a lot of grown men, I was fascinated with dinosaurs as a kid. So those kind of headlines still catch my eye. The other day I came across this CNN story — a saga really — about the discovery of the “most intact T-rex skeleton ever found” back in 1990 (“Sue“). To sum things up, shortly after the fossil was discovered FBI agents, accompanied by the national guard, seized the fossil because it was, they alleged, on Indian Trust land (read: under Federal government jurisdiction). The

Sue the Dinosaur

ownership of the dinosaur, and allegations that the people involved with the discovery had stolen and sold dinosaur fossils found on public land, were in the courts for years.

But as I read the story, I was intrigued to read that one of the people responsible for the discovery of the dinosaur “served 18 months in federal prison for customs violations” unrelated to the dinosaur discovery. I thought it must have had something to do with the importation of dinosaur fossils like happened in Detroit a few years ago, which I blogged about. But not so. Looking into the matter further, I discovered this 1996 article from the New York Times that explains the customs violations were for failing to report the transport of more than $10,000 into or out of the United States:

…Mr. Larsen was convicted of two felonies — failure to report to American customs officials $31,700 in travelers checks he had brought from Japan, and failure to report $15,000 in cash he took to Peru.

Oops! The story basically says that, of 153 charges in a 39 count indictment brought against him by the Federal government, these currency reporting violations and some misdemeanors related to the sale of fossils valued at less than $100 is what stuck. In the context of the fiasco about the dinsoaur bones, winding up getting criminally charged with failure to report currency being transported in excess of $10,000 seems kind of ridiculous, doesn’t it?

What’s the statute of limitations of currency reporting violations?

This story was just the occasion for me write about the statute of limitations for currency reporting violations (failure to report, bulk cash smuggling, and unlawful structuring that often result in currency seizures). The statute of limitations for currency reporting violations under 31 USC §§ 5316, 5324 and 5332 is found in 18 USC § 3282(a), which states:

Except as otherwise expressly provided by law, no person shall be prosecuted, tried, or punished for any offense, not capital, unless the indictment is found or the information is instituted within five years next after such offense shall have been committed.

That means once the event giving rise to the violation has occurred, the government has 5 years from that date to bring criminal charges against you.

My customs currency seizure clients often want to know: is failing to report currency a crime? Yes, it is, and it is punishable by a fine of $250,000 to $500,000 and 5 to 10 years in jail. But I also tell them that if they were not arrested at the time the currency was seized, and the U.S. Attorney was notified and declined to prosecute you, they probably will not face criminal charges.

But just because you weren’t arrested and charged immediately still means it could happen up to 5 years later.

Keep Calm and Declare Monetary Instruments Exceeding $10,000 USD

If you have had cash seized by customs and are contemplating what to do next, please make use of the other information available on this website or call our office at (734) 855-4999 to speak to a customs lawyer, or e-mail us through our contact page. 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. Please read these other articles:

  1. Seizure of currency and monetary instruments by U.S. Customs
  2. Seizure for bulk cash smuggling into or out of the U.S.
  3. Structuring currency imports and exports
  4. Is it $10,000 per person?  Under what circumstances is filing a report with Customs for transporting more than $10,000 required?
  5. Criminal & civil penalties for failing to report monetary instrument transportation
  6. Is only cash currency subject to seizure by Customs?
  7. Responding to a Customs currency seizure
  8. How do I get my seized money back?
  9. Getting money seized by U.S. Customs back while staying overseas
  10. How long does it take Customs to decide a petition for a currency/monetary instrument seizure?

 

“Strapped” for Cash? U.S. Customs Will Seize It!

In a currency seizure reported by U.S. Customs, customs seized $50,000 from a 25 year old man headed into Mexico and arrested him; although not specifically stated in the story, the money was probably arrested for bulk cash smuggling and failure to report, which carries with it criminal consequences. If this guy could prove the money came from a legitimate source and had a legitimate intended use, then this customs cash seizure was completely avoidable. Our customs law firm handles currency/money seizures made by customs in Detroit and around the country; call (734) 855-4999 to consult with a customs lawyer today (you can read our popular page on Responding to a Customs Money Seizure HERE).

 Here are the details from customs:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the San Ysidro port of entry Wednesday discovered $51,300 in unreported U.S. currency concealed underneath the clothing of a man traveling to Mexico on foot.

The incident occurred on November 4, at about 11:20 a.m., when CBP officers were conducting southbound inspections of travelers heading to Mexico through the San Ysidro port of entry. Officers targeted a 25-year-old male Bundled Currency Seized by U.S. CustomsU.S. citizen, and escorted him to a secure area for further examination.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers inspecting travelers walking south into Mexico at the San Ysidro port of entry found these bundles of cash strapped (pictured at right) to a 25-year-old male U.S. citizen.During the inspection, a CBP currency and firearms detector dog alerted to the man, leading officers to the discovery of eleven wrapped bundles of U.S. currency concealed underneath layers of his clothing.

The man, a resident of Hacienda Heights, California, was arrested and turned over to the custody of Homeland Security Investigations agents. He was later transported to the Metropolitan Correctional Center to await criminal arraignment. CBP seized the money.

It is a federal offense not to declare currency or monetary instruments totaling more than $10,000 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.

The fact that he was arrested might (but not necessarily does) indicate that customs believed he was transporting the money for some illegal purpose beyond just the smuggling/failure to report violation itself. Apparently the cash wasn’t wrapped good enough to get past the detetction dog‘s might impressive sense of smell.

If you have had money seized by Detroit CBP/customs call our office at (734) 855-4999 to speak to a lawyer, or e-mail us through our contact page (see our case results here). We are able to assist with cash seized by customs nationwide, including Detroit, Chicago, Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Orlando.

Please read these other articles customs currency seizures:

  1. Seizure of currency and monetary instruments by U.S. CustomsKeep Calm and Declare Monetary Instruments Exceeding $10,000 USD
  2. Seizure for bulk cash smuggling into or out of the U.S.
  3. Structuring currency imports and exports
  4. Is it $10,000 per person?  Under what circumstances is filing a report with Customs for transporting more than $10,000 required?
  5. Criminal & civil penalties for failing to report monetary instrument transportation
  6. Is only cash currency subject to seizure by Customs?
  7. How do I get my seized money back from customs?
  8. Getting money seized by U.S. Customs back while staying overseas
  9. How long does it take Customs to decide a petition for a currency/monetary instrument seizure?
  10. Targeted Enforcement for Customs Money Seizures

Million Dollar Week for Customs Currency Seizures

Our customs currency seizure clients typically aren’t the type of people who smuggle hundreds of thousands of dollars across the border as part of some crime (see our typical cases here), and so the amounts of seized currency we typically see don’t quite reach the proportions of these recent CBP currency seizures in Arizona that netted CBP of more than a half million bucks. If these people could prove they weren’t up to no-good by showing the money came from a legitimate source and had a legitimate intended use, then this seizure of their money was completely avoidable. Read our popular information on responding to a currency seizure by clicking HERE.

Just look at this story below:Customs Currency Seizure

TUCSON, Ariz. – One week after seizing almost half a million dollars in unreported U.S. currency at a crossing in Nogales, Arizona, port officials apprehended a 25-year-old Mexican national Sunday for failing to declare more than $190,000 when he attempted to cross into Mexico through the Port of Nogales.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers conducting outbound inspections at the Mariposa crossing selected a vehicle driven by Luis Yovanni De La Herran-Zamudio for further inspection and found the unreported money hidden beneath his vehicle’s rear hatch.

Officers processed the vehicle and currency for seizure, and referred De La Herran to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.

On Aug. 16, officers at the DeConcini crossing seized $420,000 from a male resident of Nogales, Sonora, Mexico.

Easy come, easy go.  Let’s be realistic, the currency was more than just “un-reported” as the story says: it was completely concealed (hello, bulk cash smuggling violations). And since the man was arrested, we reasonably guess there were some truly suspicious circumstances beyond just an inadvertent failure to file a currency report.

But now, even if criminal charges were not filed or if they are ultimately found not guilty of a crime they may still face civil forfeiture of the money. They will have to fight for its return administratively, or in the courts. If you have had cash seized by customs and are contemplating what to do next, please make use of the other information available on this website or call our office at (734) 855-4999 to speak to a customs lawyer, or e-mail us through our contact pageWe 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.

Read these other articles about customs currency seizures:

  1. Seizure of currency and monetary instruments by U.S. Customs
  2. Customs currency seizure for bulk cash smuggling into or out of the U.S.
  3. Customs currency seizure; Structuring currency imports and exports
  4. Is it $10,000 per person?  Under what circumstances is filing a report with Customs for transporting more than $10,000 required?
  5. Criminal & civil penalties for failing to report monetary instrument transportation
  6. Is only cash currency subject to seizure by Customs?
  7. Getting money seized by U.S. Customs back while staying overseas
  8. How long does it take Customs to decide a petition for a currency/monetary instrument seizure?
  9. Customs currency seizure; Tuition Money Seized by Customs

Customs Currency Seizure; Criminal Charges for Bulk Cash Smugglers

U.S. customs effected a currency seizure of unreported currency under the bulk cash smuggling laws from citizens of the Dominican Republic and United States, who are all related and travelling together.  Some interesting things to note about this story is that although the money seems to be from a legitimate source because the story says it was from a business, criminal charges were nevertheless brought against all individuals involved in the bulk cash smuggling. Bulk cash smuggling is illegal, no matter the source. We have written articles about bulk cash smuggling before HERE.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized $53,000 in unreported currency Friday, transported by three passengers boarding the M/V Caribbean Fantasy ferry departing to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

CBP Officers selected Dominican Republic citizen Mr. Felipe Alvarez, 69, for examination and explained to him the currency reporting requirements.  During the interview, Mr. Alvarez declared to be traveling alone and transporting less than $10,000. Intensive examination revealed that he was traveling with two other passengers, US citizen Manuel De La Rosa, 47, and Dominican Republic citizen Cristian De La Rosa, 35, both nephews of Mr. Alvarez.

Subsequent interview and exam of the three passengers revealed non reported currency within their clothing and in their carry-on items totaling $53,726.00. Mr. Alvarez later admitted that the money transported by him and his nephews were proceeds of his business in the Dominican Republic.

The currency was seized under bulk cash smuggling laws and Assistant AUSA Olga Castellón approved criminal prosecution for the three individuals.

Those arrested were remanded to the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) for processing and further investigation.

“The unreported cash that we seize has an impact on criminal organizations by making it more difficult for them to further their illicit activities,” said Juan Hurtado, San Juan area port director. “CBP officers remain vigilant generating important enforcement activity regularly.”

Individuals are permitted to carry any amount of currency or monetary instruments into or out of the United States.  However, if the quantity is $10,000 or higher, they must formally report the currency to CBP. Failure to report may result in seizure of the currency and/or arrest.

Source: http://www.dominicantoday.com/dr/local/2013/1/28/46527/US-agents-seize-US53000-from-local-man-at-San-Juan-Seaport

If you have had money seized by customs call our office at (734) 855-4999 to speak to a customs lawyer, or e-mail us through our contact page. We are able to assist with cash seized by customs nationwide, including Detroit, Chicago, Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Orlando.

Please read these other articles from our customs law blog:

  1. Seizure of currency and monetary instruments by U.S. Customs
  2. Seizure for bulk cash smuggling into or out of the U.S.
  3. Structuring currency imports and exports
  4. Is it $10,000 per person?  Under what circumstances is filing a report with Customs for transporting more than $10,000 required?
  5. Criminal & civil penalties for failing to report monetary instrument transportation
  6. Is only cash currency subject to seizure by Customs?
  7. How do I get my seized money back from customs?
  8. Getting money seized by U.S. Customs back while staying overseas
  9. How long does it take Customs to decide a petition for a currency/monetary instrument seizure?
  10. Targeted Enforcement for Customs Money Seizures

CBP at JFK Seizes Cocaine in Meat

Customs seized over 7lbs of cocaine from a man who apparently tried to smuggle it into the United States by hiding it in frozen chunks of meat from Trinidad. If CBP published statistics on stupid smuggling attempts that are bound to fail, this would go down as one of the stupidest smuggling attempts of the year.

Why is it so stupid? Because it is basically impossible to import meat into the United States without getting advance permission from either the FDA, USDA, or both — more on those restrictions HERE. Put simply, the problem is that the smuggler basically tried to hide something illegal in something that was illegal; typical smuggling attempts have people hiding illegal merchandise in or around perfectly legal merchandise.

Not only was this poorly planned for that reason, but who could ever doubt that a dog – trained for smelling both the presence of meat and narcotics – would not alert to cocaine wrapped in juicy chunks of meat? I mean, take a look at the picture below.

JAMAICA, N.Y. — An arriving passenger at John F. Kennedy International Airport had a different kind of ‘beef’ when encountered by U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers.Meat seized by CBP also contained cocaine

On March 20, CBP officers stopped Mr. Yudishtir Maharaj who was arriving on a flight from Port of Spain, Trinidad. During the course of the inspection CBP officers discovered three large
CBP at JFK Seizes Cocaine in Meatpackages of frozen meat within his luggage. When probed, the frozen packages of meat produced a white powder that tested positive for cocaine. Mr. Maharaj was arrested for the importation of a controlled substance and was turned over to Homeland Security Investigations. The total weight of cocaine seized is approximately 7.35 lbs.

“This latest seizure demonstrates the vigilance of our CBP officers, and their excellence in detecting those who would try to smuggle these illegal substances,” said Robert E. Perez, Director, Field Operations New York.

Mr. Maharaj now faces federal narcotics smuggling charges and will be prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the U.S. Eastern District Court of New York.

All defendants are considered innocent until proven guilty.

I do not represent narcotics smugglers, but a lot of innocent people and people acting in good faith or from a position of ignorance get their property seized by customs all the time. If you have had merchandise, property, orcash seized by customs and are contemplating what to do next, please make use of the other information available on this website or call our office at (734) 855-4999 to speak to a customs lawyer, or e-mail us through our contact page. We are able to assist with cash seized by customs around the country, including Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland, New York, and many other places, and not just locally.

CBP at JFK Seizes More Than $121,000 of Counterfeit Cash

Any customs lawyer will tell you that it’s better to get caught failing to report real currency than to get caught importing in counterfeit money. In this case, the law has served its intended purpose, as the following news release for a counterfeit currency seizure at JFK Airport in New York City clearly demonstrates

On February 21, 2014, CBP Officers selected [a traveler] for a random baggage examination [who] was returning from Lima, Peru and presented one checked suitcase for Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnailinspection. During the examination of his checked bag, the officer removed a cardboard diary box. The inside cover was sliced open revealing what appeared to be counterfeit U. S. $100 bills.

In total, $121,300 in counterfeit U. S. currency was concealed in one diary box, two wallets, one fabric box, and two cloth shoe racks. Mr. Rodriguez Ezeta was placed under arrest, and the counterfeit $100 bills were seized. The counterfeit currency and all evidence have been turned over to the Secret Service for further investigation, and [the individual will be] prosecuted by the U. S. Attorney’s Office Eastern District.

Based on these facts, it seems fairly clear that the person transporting the counterfeit currency knew it was counterfeit; I say that because of the concealment of the counterfeit currency in several places throughout his luggage. If you have had cash seized by customs and are contemplating what to do next, please make use of the other information available on this website or call our office at (734) 855-4999 to speak to a customs lawyer, or e-mail us through our contact page. We are able to assist with cash seized by customs around the country, including Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland, New York, and many other places, and not just locally.