Tag: customs money seizure

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.

CBP Seized Cash $95,000 in AZ

CBP seized cash from a Mexican heading back into Mexico on March 2. The cash was hidden in a cooler located in the passenger compartment of his vehicle, underneath some food and ice. This is definitely a case of “unreported currency” but, more accurately, it is also likely bulk cash smuggling. CBP seized the cash for presumably failure to report and bulk cash smuggling.

A male Mexican national was arrested Wednesday (March 2) for attempting to smuggle slightly more than $95,000 in unreported U.S. currency into Mexico through the Port of Lukeville.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers conducting outbound inspections selected a Chevrolet truck driven by a 45-year-old Mexican national for further inspection. During the search, officers found an ice chest between the front seats concealed compartment containing three packages of U.S. currency hidden beneath ice and food items. The cash was seized. The case have been referred to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations for further investigation.

“This is a collaborative effort by CBP, HSI, and DEA,” said Lukeville Port Director Peter Bachelier. “This formation is a “force-continuum” against the war on drugs and its proceeds. Our strategies are stronger and more accurate than ever.”

Source

The story doesn’t explicitly state that the seized cash was connected to drug trafficking, but in my mind, behind any suspicious movement of cash across the southern border looms the large shadow of the illegal drug trade. CBP seized the cash is investigating the entire situation.

Has CBP 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 CBP 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.

A chart showing Detroit Customs seized cash from 540 travelers in 2015

Detroit Customs Seized Cash from 540 Travelers in FY 2015

Detroit Customs seized cash from 540 travelers in fiscal year 2015 and racked up a second-best-in-the-nation finish for total amount of currency seized of $10,067,095 ($10 million). The full report is here. The

A chart showing Detroit Customs seized cash from 540 travelers in 2015
Fiscal year 2015 enforcement statistics for the Detroit Field Office of CBP showing Detroit CBP seized cash from 540 travelers

total amount of people passing through the ports of administered by the Detroit field office was 15,813,555.

We don’t have exact statistics handy, but according to a 2013 story it seems the $10 million in cash seized from travelers this year is among the best years for Detroit in terms of cash seizures. The impressive figure means that the Detroit office of U.S. Customs & Border Protection seized more cash from travelers than either of Texas, California, New Mexico and Arizona, even though those states are often in the news for high value currency seizures (often connected with the illegal drug trade).

During fiscal year 2015, the Detroit Field Office which includes the Ambassador Bridge, Detroit Windsor Tunnel, the Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron and the International Bridge in Sault. Ste. Marie, processed over 2.3 million commercial trucks, representing 21 percent of all the international truck traffic across land borders into the United States. Canada continues to be the number one trading partner with a total of $101 billion dollars in trade coming through the Detroit Field Office alone.

[ . . . ]

On the enforcement front, the Detroit Field Office had the second highest seizures in unreported currency across the nation with over $10 million seized from travelers who refused to properly report the amount of currency they were carrying. There were 961 arrests, 72 firearms seized and 588 narcotics and drug seizures.

Great work, CBP Detroit!

Has Detroit customs seized cash from you?

If Detroit customs 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.

A picture of nearly $150,000 in cash seized by CBP laid out on a table

Timid Smuggler Has Cash Seized by CBP

Here is another story about cash seized by CBP. In this case, the amount seized is almost $150,000. CBP made the seizure after a timid smuggler began acting suspicious.

Noting the suspicious behavior of not crossing the border but retreating to a nearby parking lot, CBP sent HSI agents pursued the vehicle and escorted it back to the border where an examination found vacuum sealed packages containing the cash. Of course, the cash was seized by CBP. Most likely under the bulk cash smuggling law.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the Presidio port of entry seized $138,209 Wednesday afternoon. The money was discovered hidden in the dash area of a pick-up truck.

At approximately 12 p.m. CBP officers were conducting a southbound inspection operation at the Presidio crossing when a 2004 Ford F-150 pick-up driven by a male was observed approaching the southbound inspection area. The vehicle stopped, immediately turned around and pulled into a parking lot in front of the inspection area. After a few minutes the vehicle pulled out of the parking lot driving away from the port of entry. Homeland security investigation agents were immediately notified. The agents intercepted the vehicle at a local convenience store parking lot. The vehicle was escorted back to the port where an intensive inspection resulted in the discovery of six vacuum sealed packages containing U.S. currency.

CBP officers seized the money and vehicle and turned the driver [ . . . ] over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement HSI special agents in connection with the failed smuggling attempt.

Have you had cash seized by CBP?

If you’ve had cash seized 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.

X-ray technology was used by A truck passing through an X-ray machine used by CBP to seize hidden cash.

CBP Uses Tech to Seize Hidden Cash

Technology is used by CBP to seize hidden cash. In this case, the technology is an x-ray machine that can scan an entire container.

Sometimes a cash seizure by CBP is clearly connected to illegal activity, like when CBP seizes hidden cash in the body panels of a vehicle driven by a man with a criminal record going into Mexico. Other times customs seizes hidden cash from people who aren’t up to anything illegal (and who have never even got a traffic ticket).

Then there are other times when the intent, or the reason, someone fails to report cash or hides it is not clear. For me, one such time was a story we wrote about one year ago, when CBP seized $325,000 in hidden leaving Puerto Rico in a container, along with some personal effects.

The story below is kind of similar. It is scant on details, but nonetheless interesting. There is nothing stated about what else was inside the container other than half-million dollars seized for bulk cash smuggling, so it is a little different than last year’s story.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers stopped an illegal exportation of currency when officers searched a cargo container intended to be shipped to the Dominican Republic on board the Caribbean Fantasy Ferry this past week.

Utilizing high-tech equipment, CBP officers examining outbound containers being loaded to the Caribbean Ferry selected some for further inspection.  During the additional inspection, officers discovered $518,980 USD, intended to be smuggled out of the United States. “Customs and Border Protection remains committed to strengthening our borders.” said Keith McFarquhar, acting San Juan Area Port Director. “The currency seized is not only money lost by organizations that finance drug trafficking and other illegal activity.  It is currency that could also supply the weapons and the means for these organizations to disrupt governments and pose threats to our nation.”]

Has CBP seized hidden cash from you?

If CBP seized hidden cash from 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.

Over $200,000 in cash laid out for presentation on a wooden table as part of the money seizure in Texas by CBP.

$200k Money Seizure in Texas by CBP

There was a money seizure in Texas by CBP (U.S. Customs & Border Protection) of more than $200,000,

Over $200,000 in cash laid out for presentation on a wooden table as part of the money seizure in Texas by CBP.
CBP officers seized over $200,000 in cash in Eagle Pass, Texas

reported last week. The cash was hidden in the body panels of the vehicle, where it was found by officers when Texas CBP was conducting outbound money seizure inspections. That is classic bulk cash smuggling.

Most of our client’s are not criminally charged as seems to have happened here, but only face civil forfeiture for failure to report, bulk cash smuggling, or structuring. In this case, even if the seized money came from a legitimate source and had a legitimate intended use, it will probably all be forfeited because of the money was concealed. Even in cases where legitimate source and intended use are proven, the money can still be permanently lost because hiding the money from CBP so as to avoid reporting it is a serious crime.

Here’s the Texas CBP money seizure story:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Eagle Pass Port of Entry seized a large amount of undeclared U.S. currency recently.

Shortly before 8 p.m., Jan. 22, CBP officers at Eagle Pass Bridge I inspected a southbound 2009 Pontiac G5 before it departed the United States bound for Mexico. Upon inspection, officers found several bundles of cash hidden in a body panel of the vehicle. Officers seized a total of $207,383.

The driver, a 37-year-old man from Humble, was turned over to Homeland Security Investigations for federal prosecution.

Had a money seizure in Texas by CBP?

If Customs and Border Protection seized money from you, you can learn more from our trusted legal road-map of a customs money seizure and can contact us for a free currency seizure consultation by clicking the contact buttons on this page.

The back of a CBP officer's shirt reading "CBP Federal Officer" in bold yellow letters.

Newark Airport Cash Seizure from Pilot

Customs seized cash at Newark airport from a commercial airline pilot for bulk cash smuggling. That’s the story reported by the Mumbai Mirror, which states that the pilot tried to smuggle $200,000 in without reporting it to customs and by concealing it inside a newspaper when he attempted to make entry at Newark airport after a trip to Mumbai.

He was arrested and is now being criminally charging him with bulk cash smuggling and making false statements. According to the story, he faces up 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 as a consequence for his false statements and bulk cash smuggling at Newark Airport. The full story is here:

An American commercial airline pilot has been arrested for trying to smuggle in nearly $200,000 in undeclared currency at a Newark airport shortly after arriving as a passenger on a flight from Mumbai.

Anthony Warner, 55, a resident of Dallas, Texas, was arrested at the Newark Liberty International Airport by Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and charged with bulk cash smuggling and making false statements.

Officials said that US immigration and customs enforcement agents would not known that Warner was carrying the cash wrapped in a newspaper, besides 10 rings, earrings and other jewellery if the global entry kiosk computer system was in order. A physical screening of baggage led to his arrest. Warner, a commercial pilot, possessed a global entry card that allows for quick clearance when entering the US, officials said.

The complaint said Warner declared he was bringing into the country nothing of value except for $180. He faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, the US Attorney’s office said. Warner was released on $100,000 bond after his initial appearance before US Magistrate Judge Steven C Mannion.

The reason I share this story is to strongly warn people, whether customs seized cash at Newark airport or any other airport, if it is alleged the cash seizure was for bulk cash smuggling, call us for a free currency seizure consultation because you risk losing all of your money, even if not criminally charged!

It’s interesting that he was not only bulk smuggling cash but also some rings and other jewelry. It certainly sounds a little bit suspicious. But I’m not sure what I suspect, other than the story is a little strange. Why would an airline pilot risk customs seizing cash at the airport, his jewelry, loss of his job, and prison time if this was not connected to some other criminal activity?

Did customs seize cash from you at  Newark airport?

If you’ve had money seized at Houston airport by CBP you can learn more from our trusted legal road-map of a customs money seizure and can contact us for a free currency seizure consultation by clicking the contact buttons on this page.

 

Stacks of $100 bills in row after a customs currency seizure in a story about reporting currency in the Caribbean.

Reporting Currency in the Caribbean (CBP Reminder)

U.S. Customs (CBP) has issued a public reminder on reporting currency in the Caribbean to travelers to when either entering the United States or at their preclearance facilities in Nassau or other foreign countries. This is might be connected with the recent Caribbean traveler who did not report $45,000 in currency that we blogged about.

Here’s the reminder from CBP on reporting currency in the Caribbean directed at travelers:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has seen a recent spike among Caribbean travelers who are not reporting the required currency amount to CBP officers at ports of entry upon entering or departing the United States.

 

Stacks of $100 bills in row after a customs currency seizure in a story about reporting currency in the Caribbean.
Reporting currency in the Caribbean is a requirement when entering or leaving the United States and at CBP preclearance centers.

Individuals are permitted to carry any amount of currency or monetary instruments into or out of the U.S., but if it is $10,000 or higher, they must formally report the currency to CBP using a Department of the Treasury Financial Crimes Enforcement Network FinCEN Form 105.

 

If travelers have someone else carry the currency or monetary instrument for them, they must file a currency report for the entire amount with CBP. Failure to report [cash] carries serious consequences.

 

“It is important for all travelers to make an accurate declaration of all monetary instruments,” said Jeff Mara, CBP port director for Nassau Preclearance. “Upon a failure to do so, they not only face the possibility of a penalty or seizure of all their funds, but they also face potential criminal prosecution.”

This reminder on reporting currency in the Caribbean should not fall on deaf ears. In our legal roadmap of a customs money seizure we provide a detailed explanation of the consequences of traveling with money and not report that money to CBP, and why you should be extraordinarily careful in what you do and say in trying to get the money back.

We have been trusted by over 130 people, as shown in our case results section, to help get their seized currency returned.

Money Seized at Detroit Airport for Bulk Cash Smuggling, Failure to report

A lady had money seized at Detroit airport by U.S. Customs & Border Protection (“CBP”) and the story made national news headlines. A lot of people have money seized at Detroit airport, so I’m not sure why this story generated such interest; in fact, many money seizure clients I’ve helped would make for more interesting news stories. I suspect that this story made the news because, I bet someone (herself or her attorney) chose not to file an administrative petition for remission but went the court-route, by filing a CAFRA seized asset claim.

Here is the full AP story (quoted below) which got the story about the money seized at Detroit airport from the Detroit News. This woman has the bad luck to have her story broadcast across country, but hers is not much different than many of the airport customs money seizures that take place everyday in Detroit, Chicago, and elsewhere.

ROMULUS, Mich. (AP) — A 78-year-old Florida woman tried to fly on an international trip from Detroit Metropolitan Airport with almost $41,000 in cash hidden inside her girdle, bra and carry-on bag, federal authorities said. A complaint filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Detroit said the Clearwater woman was trying to board a flight April 2 to the Philippines with her daughter.

She initially said she had $200 in cash but submitted a form declaring she had $1,200, prompting questions. During a search, Customs and Border Protection officers found $8,000 in wallets in her carry-on bag, $4,000 sewn into a cloth pouch and nearly $1,000 in envelopes, according to the complaint.

Detroit Metro Airport Currency Seizure
International Arrivals at DTW

She then told them she had $3,000 in her blouse and $2,000 sewn into the strap of her bra. Officers continued to search and said they found about $21,000 in her girdle. The woman told authorities that she had recently sold her home for $120,000, wired some money to the Philippines and had planned to carry a portion of the money with her. “She stated that she did not wire the proceeds to the Philippines this time because she thought it was safer to carry the money,” according to the complaint.

Federal law requires travelers to declare if they are carrying more than $10,000. The woman hasn’t been charged, but the government in the forfeiture complaint said it wants to keep the money. The Detroit News reported details of the request Friday. Federal court records don’t list a lawyer for the woman. The Associated Press left a message Saturday seeking comment from her at a telephone listing in Florida.

The Detroit news story identifies the woman as Victoria Farren and gets into the details a bit more by explaining that a lot of the money she was carrying was sewn into various articles of clothing like her bra strap, blouse, girdle, and a cloth pouch; these facts takes her case out of the realm of a mere failure to report monetary instruments or currency exceeding $10,000 and into the category of bulk cash smuggling (that is, active efforts to conceal the money), which can make it a lot harder to get the money back.

Have your money seized at Detroit airport?

If you’ve had money seized at Detroit airport, the Ambassador Bridge, or the Detroit-Windsor-Tunnel, you can learn more 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.