Tag: customs and border protection

$45,000 of cash seized in envelopes by CBP laid out in 3 rows of 15 on on a wood table with a CBP logo

CBP Seizes $44k from Couple Flying to Ghana

What happens when you’re going to Ghana and you don’t declare your cash to CBP? Your cash is a Goner! Last week, CBP at Dulles Airport in Sterling Virginia seized $44,606 from a couple leaving the United States from Ghana.

According to CBP, the couple told CBP they only had $14,000…. that’s about $30,000 less than what they were carrying. If true, that is a pretty serious failure to report violation. No one forgets they are carrying $30,000 less than they have.

But there are always two sides to every story. In my experience, CBP occasionally has a way of justifying cash seizures if the facts later turn out not to support their reasons for seizure (like when family is traveling together and they think the money was intentionally structured). Here’s the story from CBP’s perspective:

In separate incidents on Monday at Washington Dulles International Airport, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers intercepted an impostor who arrived from Ghana, and seized about $44,000 from a couple heading to Ghana.

[ . . . ]

Moments later, a CBP K9 alert led to CBP officers seizing a total of $44,606 in U.S. dollars and equivalent foreign currency from a Ghanaian couple who attempted to board a flight to Ghana. The woman was already on the flight when CBP officers interviewed the man. The Ghanaian man reported to CBP officers that he possessed $9,000. He then reported that his wife had an additional $5,000. CBP officers discovered the additional currency during a baggage inspection.

CBP returned $1,500 to the couple and released them to continue their journey.

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.

None of the three travelers was arrested. The Privacy Act prohibits releasing the travelers’ names since they were not criminally charged.

“These are two very serious violations of U.S. immigration and currency reporting laws, and these travelers are very fortunate to avoid criminal prosecution,” said Wayne Biondi, CBP Port Director for the Area Port of Washington Dulles. “Customs and Border Protection hopes that these incidents are a reminder to all travelers to be truthful with CBP officers. The United States is a welcoming country, especially to those who respect our nation’s laws.”

Has CBP seized your cash?

If CBP 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.

Picture from incident where Border Patrol seized cash showing a black bag with vacuum sealed items inside

Border Patrol Seized Cash at Checkpoint

In this story, Border Patrol seized cash from suspected criminals who were traveling near the I-35 checkpoint in Laredo, Texas. Not only cash was seized, but also a handgun and a lot of marijuana, too. A check point is a place further away from the border than a border-crossing where Border Patrol agents may stop a vehicle for questioning and possible referral for secondary inspection.

Why Border Patrol agents and not Customs officers, specifically? U.S. Customs & Border Protection consists of both Customs officers and Border patrol agents, which are separate offices. Border Patrol agents have authority to operate within the “border zone”, which the area within 100 miles of the U.S. border. You can read more about the 100-mile border zone.

On March 4, 2016, Border Patrol agents from the Laredo Sector Border Patrol thwarted an attempt to smuggle drugs, currency and a weapon at the IH-35 Checkpoint.

Border Patrol agents assigned to the Border Patrol Checkpoint on Interstate Highway 35 encountered a truck at the primary inspection lane.  The driver and passenger were being questioned regarding their immigration status, and were subsequently referred by agents to secondary for further inspection of the vehicle.

While at secondary, agents conducted a thorough inspection of the truck, finding several large duffle bags with bundles inside, a handgun and currency inside the vehicle.  The bundles tested positive for marijuana.  A total of 12 bundles were removed from the vehicle with a total weight of 252.8 pounds and a street value of $202,560.00 USD. The subject was placed under arrest, and the narcotics and subject were turned over to DEA.  The handgun was turned over to ATF.

Has Border Patrol seized cash from you?

The process of getting money back from CBP is long and complicated; most importantly, legitimate source and intended use must be proven. If Border Patrol seized cash from you, 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.