Tag: fy2017

Texas CBP seized cash. A picture of 19 stacks of $20 and $100 bills part of the cash seized by CBP at Hidalgo International Bridge

CBP Texas Discovers $300k in Hidden Cash

Here is a tale from CBP of over a quarter-million dollars, unreported cash, seized by U.S. Customs officers at the Hidalgo bridge. He was arrested, which is not surprising. Although it does not say specifically how the money was hidden with the car he was driving, it does say that it was “concealed“.

Here’s the story:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Field Operations (OFO) at the Hidalgo International Bridge arrested a man from Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico after the discovery of more than $300,000 in unreported currency concealed within the vehicle he was driving.

“I applaud our CBP officers for this outstanding discovery,” said Deputy Port Director Donna Sifford, Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas Port of Entry. “Enforcing federal currency reporting requirements is part of our CBP mission.”

On Sept. 28, CBP officers at the Hidalgo International Bridge conducting outbound examinations referred a vehicle for inspection. The vehicle was driven by a 43-year-old man, a Mexican citizen from Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico. After a physical inspection of the vehicle, the use of a non-intrusive imaging system inspection (NII), officers discovered over $300,000 in unreported currency.

CBP OFO seized the currency and arrested the man, who was turned over to the custody of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents for further investigation.

Has Texas CBP seized cash from you?

If Texas CBP seized 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.

 

Baltimore Customs Seized Cash on Private Flight

Baltimore CBP doesn’t make it into the news too much for cash seizures, but recently it was reported that they seized more than $11,000 from a Nigerian money leaving the country. The story is different from many in that he wasn’t flying commercial, but rather flying on a private aircraft.

The story explains a valuable lesson: the customs law apply equally to commercial and private flights. Here’s the whole story, as told by CBP:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized more than $11,000 in unreported currency from a Nigerian man who departed the United States late Friday night aboard a private aircraft.

While examining a passenger manifest from the departing flight, CBP officers identified a man with previous federal currency reporting violations.  The man also failed to report any currency on this trip nor did he complete a financial reporting form as required by law.  CBP officers conducted a compliance examination and discovered $11,647 in U.S. dollars, British pounds and Euros.  CBP officers seized all the currency.

“Chartering a private flight does not alleviate travelers from the responsibility of complying with applicable U.S. laws and regulations, including federal currency reporting requirements,” said Dianna Bowman, CBP Area Port Director for the Area Port of Baltimore.  “This seizure should remind all travelers that Customs and Border Protection border security authority covers all departing and arriving international travelers, whether on commercial or private aircraft.  It is one way in which CBP contributes to our nation’s security.”

Privacy laws prohibit CBP from releasing the traveler’s name since he was not criminally charged.  The traveler was departing for London, England.  CBP officers released him to continue his travel after officers completed the currency seizure.

Have you had cash seized from CBP at Baltimore Washington International Airport?

If CBP at Baltimore Washington International Airport 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.

 

$150,000 laid out on a table at Dulles airport after the cash was seized by Customs

3rd Largest Dulles Customs Cash Seizure of $150,000

CBP in Dulles recently made a very large cash seizure from an airline passenger headed to Ghana. It is CBP at Dulles Airport’s third largest seizure since 2003.

Here is the story, without comment, as shared by CBP:

While conducting an outbound enforcement operation, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized more than $150,000 in unreported currency from a Ghanaian man on Saturday at Washington Dulles International Airport.

The man, who CBP has not named because he was not criminally charged at this time, reported to officers that he possessed $10,000.  The man reported that currency on a financial disclosure form and presented $10,000 in a zippered bag along with $200 and 100 Ghana cedis in his wallet.  During a baggage examination, CBP officers discovered $40,000 concealed inside a pair of pants, and another $100,000 concealed inside a pair of sweatpants.

The total currency the Ghanaian man possessed equaled $150,228.  CBP officers returned $2,228 to him as a humanitarian release so that he may continue his travel.

This is CBP’s sixth largest currency seizure at Dulles since CBP’s inception in March 2003, and the second largest currency seizure in the past 13 years.  The top two currency seizures, of $318,519 and $303,031, occurred in 2003, and more recently, a $156,023 currency seizure in 2014 tops this seizure.

And for the pictures:

$10,000 cash in a zippered bag/purse seized by Customs

 

$150,000 laid out on a table at Dulles airport after the cash was seized by Customs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Has Dulles CBP seized your cash?

If Dulles CBP seized your cash, beware that you stand to lose a lot of it because of their aggressive penalization of bulk cash smuggling and structuring offenses. You should read our trusted customs money seizure legal guide and contact our customs lawyer for a free cash seizure consultation by clicking the contact buttons on this page.

Dulles Airport CBP Took Cash from Husband and Wife

Dulles Airport CBP Seizes $25k from Bosnia and Herzegovina-bound travelers

Cash seizures at airports have spiked in Detroit, and also apparently in other regions, such as Dulles airport. As a case in point, here is yet another story about CBP seizing cash from a traveler at the airport in Sterling, Virginia: Washington Dulles International Airport.

Here is the full story (original here):

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized more than $25,000 Wednesday from travelers departing Washington Dulles International Airport for violating federal currency reporting regulations.A Bosnia and Herzegovina-bound family reported to CBP officers that they possessed $9,000. The father then signed a U.S. Treasury form reporting they possessed $15,000.A CBP inspection discovered a total of $19,754 in U.S. dollars and 5,085 Euros, combined equivalent to $25,616 in U.S. dollars, in possession of the three-person family.

CBP officers seized the currency and returned 985 Euros ($1,135 U.S. dollar equivalent) to the family for humanitarian purposes.  No charges were filed.  Officers released the family to continue their travel.

And here is what CBP Dulles is saying about the up-tick in airport currency seizures on their watch:

This is CBP’s third outbound currency seizure in two weeks at Dulles.  CBP officers seized $29,698 from a Qatar-bound family July 9 and $18,900 from a Ghana-bound man July 11. Read more about those unreported currency seizures.

“These continued currency seizures clearly illustrate the consequences of travelers not making truthful declarations to Customs and Border Protection officers,” said Wayne Biondi, CBP Port Director for the Area Port of Washington Dulles.  “The best way to keep all of your currency is to honestly report it all to Customs and Border Protection officers during inspection.”

They go on to get the reporting requirement, wrong, again (hint: it is more than $10,000, not $10,000 or

Travelers may carry as much currency as they wish into and out of the United States.  Federal law requires that travelers must report all U.S. and foreign monetary instruments totaling $10,000 or greater on a U.S. Treasury Department financial form.  None of the currency is taxed.

 

It is also true that none of the money is taxed, at least by Customs. If it is considered “income,” it may be taxable. But if you’ve already paid income taxes on the money, then it is definitely not taxable again by the IRS.

Has CBP seized your cash at the airport?

If CBP seized your cash at the airport, read our trusted customs money seizure legal guide and contact our customs lawyer for a free cash seizure consultation by clicking the contact buttons on this page.

Officers at the Port of San Luis discovered two packages of unreported U.S. currency hidden within frozen packages of tortilla dough

CBP Officers Seize Cash Disguised as Dough

This article could also be called, CBP seizes “dough,” slang for cash. This seems to me to be a very clever smuggling attempt, but I don’t know much because I’m not a customs officer. I have it on very good authority that after years on the job, a good CBP officer develops a sixth sense for the presence of contraband.

In this case, a Mexican man stashed $54,000 in bags of tortilla dough that were in a cooler in the back of his van:

TUCSON, Ariz. – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers conducting outbound inspections at Arizona’s Port of San Luis arrested a Mexican national Thursday after finding unreported U.S. currency, hidden inside of tortilla dough.

Officers referred a 54-year-old Mexican man for a further search of his Honda van Thursday afternoon and found $54,000 in unreported U.S. currency within an ice chest in the rear of the van. The bags of tortilla dough were taken apart, revealing two packages of currency of varying denominations.

Officers seized all contraband and vehicle involved, and turned the subject over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.

 

CBP Seizes Guns & Money to Mexico

Guns, money, and and lawyers; the first two items are what this disjointed story from CBP is about, and the last is what the 3 people involved in this cash and firearm seizures by CBP will need. Customs seized $20,000 outbound to Mexico which resulted in an arrest, another $38,000 that probably (but not certainly resulted in an arrest), and a a cache of guns and ammo.

It reminds me of the song, “Lawyers, Guns & Money” (the Hank Williams, Jr. cover of the song is a bit more lively…. ). The total amount seized by U.S. Customs & Border Protection was $58,000 cash. Anyway, here’s the story from CBP:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers conducting outbound inspections at Arizona’s Port of Lukeville arrested two Mexican nationals Tuesday after finding unreported U.S. currency, weapons and ammunition in separate seizures.

Officers referred a 27-year-old Mexican man for a further search of his Dodge sedan Tuesday night and found more than $20,000 in unreported U.S. currency within the vehicle’s center console. This is the second unreported currency seizure this week.

On March 11, Lukeville officers prevented $38,000 from being smuggled into Mexico.

At about the same time, officers referred a 43-year-old Mexican woman for a secondary inspection of the Dodge truck she was driving. That search turned up multiple firearms and associated accessories to include several assault rifles, a handgun, multiple ammunition magazines, two weapon scopes and approximately 6,000 rounds of ammunition.

 

An example of cash report for customs.

CBP Seizes $13K in Unreported Currency at Washington Dulles International Airport

A traveler bound for Ethiopa had $13,000 seized from him by U.S. Customs & Border Protection at Dulles airport a few weeks back. This story is part of the (seemingly) un-ending trend of currency seizures coming from Dulles airport lately.

The facts are largely the same as most of the other stories. A U.S. citizen attempts to leave the United States without first making the required currency report to Customs. The man probably thought he would not have to report it because — after all, you do not pass through Customs when leaving the country, only when arriving. But the currency reporting requirement applies equally to those entering the country and to those leaving the country.

During an outbound inspection, the man declared, both verbally and in writing, to CBP officers that he possessed $5,000; however, CBP officers discovered a total of $13,294 on his person and in his luggage.  The officers seized the $13,294, returning the equivalent of $424 in foreign and U.S. currency for humanitarian relief, and advised him how to petition for the return of the currency.  The traveler was then released to continue his journey.

A verbal or written declaration gets you nowhere if it is inaccurate. What form did he make the written declaration on and why? No declaration is required for monetary instruments of $10,000 or less, so why would Customs make him complete a written declaration?

The only reason would be to have affirmative proof that he did not make a proper verbal declaration of the money by being able to say, “See, he also lied about it in writing. It is not our word against his. His very own handwriting — his written declaration — also proves him guilty.”

By obtaining a written declaration, Dulles may have a stronger case if they try to prove that the money is subject to forfeiture for bulk cash smuggling violations.Yes, watch out in Dulles for strict enforcement of Customs guidelines concerning seizure of monetary instruments for structuring and bulk cash smuggling offenses.

 

CBP seizes ammo and $9,995 cash, make criminal charges

Channel 4 Valley Central news picked up on a seizure of ammunition and some cash at the Hidalgo International Bridge last Wednesday. The story is noteworthy because it involves the seizure of less than $10,000…. by about $5 bucks.

Who travels with $9,995? Someone who has structured their currency transaction so that they would not have to file a currency transaction report on FinCen 105 and report their cash to U.S. Customs & Border Protection, that’s who.

And what’s wrong with traveling with $9,995 if you desire to avoid the hassle of reporting the money to CBP? Everything, because it’s against the law! That’s called unlawful cash structuring. Let’s have a look at an excerpt from the criminal complaint:

criminal-complaint-cash-ammo

It is somewhat suspicious but, his explanations have a ring of truth to it. Nevertheless, exporting ammunition from the U.S. (and thought not charged with it… structuring a cash transaction to evade the reporting requrement) is illegal, and therefore, a crime. And at the end of the day, that’s the reason he was charged; he’s not been charged with intending to use the ammo or the cash for any nefarious purpose (even if CBP believes that he did so intend).

Here’s an excerpt from the story:

Officers seized more than 400 rounds of ammunition and $9,995 at the Hidalgo bridge on Wednesday.

Espinoza “provided CBPOs with a negative declaration for currency, weapons and ammunition,” according to the criminal complaint.Officers search Espinoza’s vehicle and found $9,995 cash — $6,620 underneath a battery cover inside the engine and $3,375 stuffed in an envelope, according to the criminal complaint.

They also found 400 rounds of ammunition.

“Espinoza claimed the U.S. currency was meant to purchase vehicles from a local auto auction company in the McAllen, Texas area, but he did not purchase the vehicles,” according to the criminal complaint. “He stated that he hid the U.S. currency in the engine compartment to conceal it from Mexican Customs officials and the cartel because they would take it from him if they knew he had it.”

Has your cash been seized by U.S. Customs & Border Protection?

If CBP seized cash from, learn more about what your options are from our trusted customs money seizure legal guide; and can take advantage of the free currency seizure consultation we offer by clicking the contact buttons on this page.

Picture of what the cash seized at Dulles airport looked similar to.

Dulles Customs Seizes $113k from 5 People

Dulles airport is a new hotbed for CBP cash seizures. And based on the volume of stories coming out from CBP about currency seizures they’ve conducted, they love to talk about. In fact, in the last 2 weeks CBP seized money from 5 different groups of people for “intentionally” violating the federal currency reporting regulations.

It’s curious that CBP should state that the law was “intentionally” violated, as intent has nothing to do with whether the law was broken (at least, in CBP’s interpretation of the law). The only thing that is require for a violation of the cash reporting law is a knowing transportation or more than $10,000 into or out of the country, not a knowing violation of the reporting requirement. It is, in the legal world, called a “bright line” rule. In other words, if you leave or enter the country with more than $10,000 and you do not report it, it does not matter why you did not report it, you’ve broken the law by the very transportation of the money itself.

Here is the whole story concerning the 5 recent seizures at Dulles, as told by CBP:

A handful of international travelers learned of the value of truthfully reporting all currency they possessed to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at Washington Dulles International Airport recently. That value came to about $113,000 in seized currency.

CBP officers seized a total of $112,819 during five seizures over the last 10 days for violating federal currency reporting requirements.  These currency seizures included:

  • $36,639 from a family departing Washington Dulles for Laos on October 25;
  • $14,221 from a woman departing to South Korea on October 24;
  • $22,034 from man who arriving from Ghana on October 22;
  • $17,946 from a man and woman departing to El Salvador on October 18; and
  • $21,979 from a man departing to Belgium.

In each incident, CBP officers allowed the travelers multiple opportunities to be truthful, and to read, understand and acknowledge the currency reporting law before officers inspected the travelers. In each incident, CBP officers found additional currency above what the travelers repeatedly claimed they possessed.

As customs stated, the total of these seizures exceeded the $73,900 that CBP officers seized from Serbian bound man on October 3. What’s up, Dulles CBP? Have your currency seizure reporting priorities just kicked up a few notches?

10 bundles of cash totaling more than $90,000 laid out on top of a black plastic as seized by U.S. Customs & Border Protection in Laredo, Texas, after a secondary examination.

CBP seizes $91,000 in secondary examination

Another day, another dollar… seized. In Laredo, Texas, the Texas-Mexico border town, U.S. Customs & Border Protection seized about $90,000 from a 30 year old Mexican national heading back to Mexico.

October 1 begins the government’s new fiscal year, and this story of unreported cash being seized by CBP is likely one of the first of many for CBP Laredo of 2017. As you’ll note in the story, a “secondary examination” of the vehicle turned up hidden packages of “unreported cash” — that is, truly a bulk cash smuggling offense, even if still a failure to report. A secondary examination, or intensive examination, usually involves the dismantling of the vehicle in search of contraband; the removing of body panels, an undercarriage inspection, etc. It can be very destructive, as can be seen in the following video:

But, on to the story as reported by CBP:

The interception occurred on Friday, Oct. 21 while CBP officers and agents conducting outbound (southbound) inspections at the Lincoln-Juarez Bridge referred a 2013 Toyota Prius driven by a 30-year-old male Mexican citizen for a secondary inspection.  CBP officers conducted an intensive secondary examination of the vehicle and discovered packages hidden within the vehicle that contained $91,708 in unreported currency.

CBP officers seized the currency and the vehicle. CBP officers arrested the driver and turned him over to Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents for further investigation.

Individuals are permitted to carry any amount of currency or monetary instruments into or out of the U.S., however, if the quantity is more than $10,000, they will need to report it to CBP. “Money” means monetary instruments and includes U.S. or foreign coins currently in circulation, currency, traveler’s checks in any form, money orders, and negotiable instruments or investment securities in bearer form. Failure to declare may result in seizure of the currency and/or arrest.

Did CBP take your money?

If CBP took your money, 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.