Tag: detroit airport money seizure

Hundred dollar bills seized by CBP in Detroit

CBP Cash Seizures and Enforcement Increase at Detroit Metro Airport

A story that CBP in Detroit is increasing cash reporting enforcement at Detroit Metro Airport was all over the local news headlines last week (see here, and here), but because of it, I was not able to post and comment about it until now (yes, it’s busy).

CBP Detroit has released mid-(fiscal)-year statistics in the past, and they have done so again this year. They usually come around May (we commented on it in 2017, further back in 2015 and first in 2013).

Most of the seizures happen at Detroit Metropolitan Airport in Romulus, Michigan. CBP Oficcers there are very active in seizing money. And for good reason: lot’s of people don’t report it, or for some reason, think it’s illegal to carry cash (it’s not!). There’s a lot of people traveling with cash there, because it’s an ethnically diverse area and a connecting hub for many flights where people tend to use cash: China, India, and the Middle East.

How much of a difference is this over past years, really? Well, here’s a summary of all data from this story and comparing it to those we wrote about in years past,

  • October 1, 2016 to May 2, 2017 = $4.4 million (2+ quarters)
  • October 1, 2014 to September 30, 2015 = $10,067,095 (full year)
  • October 1, 2018 o March 31, 2019 = $3,852,252 (2 quarters)
  • October 1, 2017 to March 31, 2019 = $2,384,360 (2 quarters)

While we don’t have the exact data for an apples-to-apples comparison, it looks like Detroit CBP at Metro Airport is closely approximating the seizure activity of the their 2016-2017 fiscal year this year, when they seized $4.4 million by May 2.

We’ve definitely noticed an increase a clients reporting seized money from CBP, especially for this time of year. So far, our firm has handled 48 cases this fiscal year — and a total of 342 since 2012. We are by far the most experienced law firm to help get seized money back from Detroit Customs.

The original story can be read here, but is reproduced below:

ROMULUS, Mich. – During the first half of fiscal year 2019, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officers within the Detroit Field Office achieved a 62% increase in the seizure of unreported currency from international passengers as compared to the same period last year. A vast majority of the seizures occurred at Detroit Metro Airport.

Thus far in fiscal year 2019 starting October 1 and ending March 31, CBP has seized $3,852,262 in unreported currency from international travelers, this compares to $2,384,360 seized during the same time frame for fiscal year 2018.

CBP in conjunction with its Department of Homeland Security (DHS) partners, continues its efforts to prevent the unreported movement of currency through the Detroit Metropolitan Airport and other ports of entry within the Detroit Field Office.  

“This increase clearly demonstrates our continued commitment, and that of our partners, to protect the United States from proceeds of criminal activity,” said Devin Chamberlain, CBP Port Director at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

Bulk cash smuggling is the act of concealing currency and/or reportable monetary instruments with the intent of evading currency reporting requirements, in an attempt to transfer or transport the currency or monetary instrument(s) across an international border.

While it is not a crime to carry more than $10,000, federal currency reporting requirements state that travelers must report currency or monetary instruments totaling $10,000 or more [Editor: This is wrong. It’s “more than $10,000”) to a CBP officer upon entry to or exit from the United States.  Failure to declare may result in the seizure of the currency, and possible arrest.  An individual may petition for the return of currency seized [Editor: Or file a claim, make an offer in compromise, etc.], but the petitioner must prove that the source and intended use of the currency was legitimate.

Notice of Seizure and Intent to Forfeit (CAFRA) at the Port of Detroit

Detroit CBP Cash Seizure: Last Call!

On July 8, CBP Detroit issued a notice of intent to forfeit $15,554 that was seized at Detroit Metropolitan Airport on May 9, 2016, for a violations of the unlawful structuring and the border cash reporting requirements. The notice of seizure and intent to forfeit publications on forfeiture.gov or the legal equivalent of the bartender yelling “Last call!” at a bar and turning on the lights.

As with a similar story we posted days ago, because this notice is being published likely means that someone chose to abandon cash seized by CBP, or that they never a notice of seizure by mail. Because someone missed the deadline, the notice, or abandoned the property, CBP has thus begun administrative forfeiture proceedings.

Here’s the notice:

PUBLICATION/POSTING START: July 08, 2016
PUBLICATION/POSTING END: August 07, 2016
DEADLINE TO FILE A CLAIM: September 06, 2016

2016380700077501-001-0000, Seized on 05/09/2016; At the port of DETROIT, MI; US CURRENCY RETAINED;  200; EA; Valued at $15,554.00; For violation of 31USC5317, 31USC5316, 31CFR1010.340(A), 31USC5324

Anyone with a legal interest in the property can submit a claim, with some limitations. Completing a claim and properly submitting it to CBP is the last chance for anyone with an interest in the property to try to get it back.

After money has been seized by CBP, it is best to consult with and proceed with the advice of a law firm that specializes in customs laws and cash seizures; there are number of mistakes that can be made in electing to proceed with making an offer in compromise, filing a claim, an administrative petitioner, or otherwise responding.

If you want to learn more about responding to a customs cash seizure, 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.

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.

Detroit CBP seized cash (counterfeit money)

Any customs lawyer will tell you that it’s better to get caught failing to report real cash getting caught importing counterfeit cash. Detroit CBP seized cash (counterfeit) as a result of the currency reporting requirement. The purpose of the currency reporting requirement is to do exactly this — catch people who are bringing in illegal (in this case counterfeit) money into the United States.

You can educate yourself using our trusted “customs money seizure legal roadmap” as a guide to understanding what to do if Detroit CBP seized cash from you. In the particular case below, the the following news release clearly demonstrates why Detroit CBP does not allow anyone to under-report cash:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport announces the seizure of $32,300 in counterfeit U.S. currency from a Ghanaian citizen.

“This amount of counterfeit cash can inflict serious harm on a local economy.” says Devin Chamberlain, port director. “I am pleased that the officers’ attention to detail

Image of location near where Detroit CBP seized cash (counterfeit) at Detroit Metro Airport (DTW).
Detroit CBP seized cash (counterfeit) at Detroit Metro Airport (DTW).

resulted in this seizure.”

On Sunday November 17, CBP officers encountered a male citizen of Ghana after he arrived in Detroit on a flight from Amsterdam. Because he did not complete a required customs declaration, CBP form 6059b, he was asked to complete this form while his passport was being checked. The traveler checked “no” that he was carrying more than $10,000 however reported to the officer verbally that he indeed had more than $10,000 and made an error on the form. A secondary search of his luggage resulted in the discovery of $32,300 in U.S. currency that CBP officers suspected, was counterfeit.

Agents from the U.S. Secret Service and Homeland Security Investigations were notified and responded. The counterfeit cash and traveler were turned over to Secret Service. The United States Attorney’s Office has accepted the case for Federal prosecution.

Based on these facts, I doubt the man knew that the cash seized by Detroit CBP was counterfeit. Nevertheless, his bumbling answer and the failure to accurately report in the first place in his being arrested and pending criminal charges.

Did Detroit CBP seize cash from you?

If Detroit CBP seized cash from you at Detroit Metro Airport, the Ambassador Bridge, or the Detroit-Windsor-Tunnel, 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.