Tag: laredo

$150,000 in bulk cash wrapped in bundles pictured on the on the roof of the vehicle from which the money was seized by U.S. Customs & Border Protection

CBP Finds and Seizes $185k in Hidden Cash

CBP seized $185,000 in smuggled currency that was heading into Mexico out of Laredo, Texas, last week, in a story reported by CBP. The story has few details, but tells us that the money was apparently not hid too well because 16 bundles of currency were found after a “non-intrusive” inspection.

What we do now is that the cash and vehicle was seized, and the two individuals in the vehicle were arrested. The rest of the story consists of “boilerplate” statements about the role of CBP in inspecting passengers, seizing currency, and the currency reporting requirement.

Here’s the story:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers assigned to work outbound inspection operations at the Lincoln-Juarez Bridge seized over $185,000 in U.S. currency in a single enforcement action over the weekend.

“CBP officers not only ensure that inbound travelers and cargo comply with U.S. laws and regulations but also conduct outbound examinations to safeguard the revenue of the U.S. and protect against unreported exportations of bulk U.S. currency, which often can be proceeds from alleged illicit activity,” said Port Director Gregory Alvarez, Laredo Port of Entry. “This weekend’s significant currency seizure is a direct reflection of our continuing commitment to enforcing federal currency reporting requirements.”

The seizure occurred on Saturday, April 29, when a CBP officer referred a 2007 Mitsubishi Endeavor for an intensive inspection. The vehicle was driven by a 34-year-old Mexican male citizen from Monterrey, Nuevo Leon and a 33-year-old Mexican male citizen as a passenger also from Monterrey, Nuevo Leon. A canine and non-intrusive inspection by CBP officers resulted in the discovery of 16 packages containing $185,020 in U.S. currency.

CBP officers seized currency and vehicle. The driver and passenger were arrested and the case was then turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-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, travelers’ 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.

If CBP seized your cash you need a lawyer. Read our trusted customs money seizure legal guide and can contact our customs lawyer for a free cash seizure consultation by clicking the contact buttons on this page.

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.
CBP in Laredo, Texas, seized more than $130,000 from 2 Mexican nationals return to Mexico

CBP Laredo Seizes > $130K in Cash

Last weekend, CBP officers in Laredo, Texas seized more than $130,000 from two Mexican nationals who were leaving the United States to return to Mexico. What is noteworthy about the story is that the money was apparently not smuggled in a hidden compartment within the vehicle, but was found during a “non-intrusive inspection” by CBP officers and a canine.

Here’s the news release:

LAREDO, Texas – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers assigned to work outbound inspection operations at the Lincoln-Juarez Bridge seized over $130,000 in U.S. currency in a single enforcement action over the weekend.

The seizure occurred on Sunday, Aug. 28, when a CBP officer referred a 2014 Volkswagen Vento for an intensive inspection. The vehicle was driven by a 33-year-old Mexican male from Monterrey, Nuevo Leon and a 25-year-old Mexican male passenger also from Monterrey, Nuevo Leon. A canine and non-intrusive inspection by CBP officers resulted in the discovery of 13 packages containing $136,424 in U.S. currency.

“CBP officers not only ensure that inbound travelers and cargo comply with U.S. laws and regulations but also conduct outbound examinations to safeguard the revenue of the U.S. and protect against unreported exportations of bulk U.S. currency, which often can be proceeds from alleged illicit activity,” said Port Director Gregory Alvarez, Laredo Port of Entry. “This weekend’s significant currency seizure is a direct reflection of our continuing commitment to enforcing federal currency reporting requirements.”

The writer of the news release seems to indicate these people may be innocent of any crime; no names are revealed and the word “alleged” is used to describe “illegal activity.” That’s unusual because the story does say that both men were arrested and handed over to Homeland Security Investigations.

Has Laredo CBP seized your cash?

If CBP in Laredo 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.

Loss of Cash to Texas CBP via Notice of Forfeiture & Intent to Seize

Losing cash to Texas CBP

In the context of negotiation to get some of my client’s seized cash returned from CBP, I once had a conversation with a Fines, Penalties & Forfeitures officer. I remarked that I couldn’t believe how much money people lost to CBP through cash seizures. Without hesitation, he replied “I can’t believe how much money people don’t try to get back from CBP.”

So in consideration of people about to lose some cash to CBP, let’s have a look at some money seizures by CBP in Texas that are on the verge of being forfeited (that is, lost forever to the government). All of this information is courtesy of www.forfeiture.gov, and spans cash seizure notices of seizure and intent to forefeit for April 22 and April 29.

First up, Houston:

HOUSTON, TX
2016530100037301-001-0000, Seized on 04/14/2016; At the port of HOUSTON, TX; U.S. CURRENCY; 1; EA;
Valued at $333,485.00; For violation of 31USC5317/5316

A whopping $333,485 was seized in Houston, Texas, for a simply failing to report it. Houston is one of the ports where I’ve heard that Customs can be pretty fair in giving people plenty of opportunity to make the cash report. Next up, Presidio/El Paso, Texas:

EL PASO, TX
2016240300008401-001-0000, Seized on 02/17/2016; At the port of PRESIDIO, TX; U.S. CURRENCY; 4,907; EA; Valued at $138,209.00; For violation of 31USC5332(A),31USC5332(C),31USC5316,31USC5317

This is more than just a failure to report — the reference to 31 USC 5332 means that it is also seized for bulk cash smuggling, which likewise means that a greater amount of money is subject to forfeiture by CBP. In addition, because just below this entry and bearing the same case number is a 2004 Ford F150 truck, we can safely assume that this $138,209 was concealed within the the truck.

The last entry, for Laredo, Texas, is more puzzling:

LAREDO, TX
2016231000003901-001-0000, Seized on 04/02/2016; At the port of ROMA, $3,200.00; For violation of 31USC5317,31USC5316,31USC5324

The cash reporting requirement only applies to amounts of money being transported in excess of $10,000, but this entry indicates that $3,200 was seized for both a failure to report and a structuring violation. But you can’t violate the cash reporting law by transporting less than $10,000. So how is it that CBP is forfeiting $3,200?

Well, it’s possible it was some small part of a structuring transaction; but in that case, I would expect to see another entry with the same case number of seizure date the brings the amount to over $10,000. It’s also possible that the person only transported $3,200 because they did not want to have to report traveling with more than $10,000. More likely (in terms of a structuring violation), would be that there was a sequence of transactions of moving money across the border and, when they were all added up and CBP got wind of the structuring plot, they seized this last bit of $3,200. If you don’t understand that, you haven’t read our article on cash structuring to avoid the reporting requirement.

Have you lost cash to CBP through a money seizure?

A loss of cash to CBP through seizure is a traumatic experience. If the money has not already been forfeited, there are some good chances to get it back if you know what you’re doing. Our customs law firms knows what it’s doing. You can learn more from our trusted legal guide to a customs money seizure and can contact us for a free currency seizure consultation by clicking the contact buttons on this page.

Undeclared Currency Seized by CBP

$5.9M in Undeclared Currency Seized in Texas

CBP operates on a fiscal year that runs from October 1 to September 30. For fiscal year 2015, CBP in Laredo Texas field office reported some impressive seizure figures.  Most impressive for our purposes here the amount of undeclared currency seized by CBP Texas — $5.9 million dollars.

This story continues a series of stories we recently published about CBP’s annual currency seizure statistics both nationally, in the souther border states, and in the Detroit field office.

This undeclared currency seized figure, and figures for other seizures by CBP, are in story below:

During FY 2015, CBP officers at eight ports of entry extending from Brownsville to Del Rio that comprise the Laredo Field Office seized 164,418 pounds of narcotics that carried a combined estimated street value of $172 million. This represents a 49 percent increase over the total amount of drugs seized in FY 2014. Specifically, they seized 152,891 pounds of marijuana, up a whopping 54 percent over FY 2014; 5,519 pounds of cocaine; 5,005 pounds of methamphetamine, up 36 percent from FY 2014; 1,003 pounds of heroin, up 31 percent from FY 2014, $5.9 million in undeclared currency, 32 firearms and 7,372 rounds of ammunition.

South Texas CBP officers in FY 2015 determined that a total of  52,809 non-U.S. citizens were inadmissible to the U.S. due to violations of immigration law, a 33 percent increase over FY 2014.

Have you had undeclared currency seized by CBP?

The process of getting undeclared currency seized by CBP back 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 Seizes $310,000 for Failure to Declare Currency

While most of our currency seizure clients are have their money taken from customs at an airport, we ocasionally represent people who have had their money seized at a border crossing, such as the Ambassador Bridge or the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel. In this story from CBP, Customs seized over $300,000 from a middle aged Mexican couple who were returning to Mexico. In the vehicle, inside a microwave, they found the stash. This is a class case of bulk cash smuggling, and is no doubt the reason for the seizure. The story does not specifically mention if they were arrested or charged with a crime, but the government has 5 years to do so.

Discovered packages hidden in a microwave oven in the vehicle that contained $309,220 in unreported currency.
CBP officers conducted an intensive secondary examination of the vehicle and discovered packages hidden in a microwave oven in the vehicle that contained $309,220 in unreported currency.

The interception occurred on Sunday, Sept. 27 while CBP officers and Border Patrol agents conducting outbound (southbound) inspections at the Lincoln-Juarez Bridge referred a 2013 Chevy Aveo driven by a 42-year-old male Mexican citizen with a 51-year-old female Mexican citizen passenger for a secondary inspection. CBP officers conducted an intensive secondary examination of the vehicle and discovered packages hidden in a microwave oven in the vehicle that contained $309,220 in unreported currency.

CBP officers seized the currency and the Chevy Aveo. CBP officers turned over the driver and passenger 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, travelers’ 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.

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

CBP Makes Whopping $478k Cash Seizure

In another classic “bulk cash smuggling” offense, CBP officers in at the southern border seized nearly $500,000 in secreted away in a pick-up truck driven by a U.S. citizen from Texas. The incident resulted an arrest. Although you wouldn’t know it from the news release, this is more than just a “failure to report” or “failure to declare” currency. This is bulk cash smuggling. Bulk cash smuggling makes it much more likely that you will NOT get the money back even if you can show that there was a legitimate source and intended use.

The story follows (original HERE):

“This is one of the larger seizures of undeclared currency we have seen in recent memory and is reflective of a robust enforcement posture and an effective application of the skill and training of our frontline officers,” said Port Director Joseph Misenhelter, Laredo Port of Entry.

The seizure occured on July 27 at Lincoln-Juarez Bridge when CBP officers and agents conducting outbound examinations referred a 2010 06102015%20TFO%20DOU%20Cash%203[1]Dodge Ram pickup truck driven by a 43-year-old male U.S. citizen from Laredo, Texas for a secondary examination. During the examination, CBP officers discovered bundles containing $481,711 in undeclared currency hidden within the vehicle.

CBP officers seized the currency, arrested the driver and turned him over to Homeland Security Investigations 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 $10,000 or higher they must formally report the currency to CBP. Failure to declare may result in seizure of the currency and/or arrest. An individual may petition for the return of currency seized by CBP officers, but the petitioner must prove that the source and intended use of the currency was legitimate.

If you have had cash seized by customs and are contemplating what to do next then use the information available on this website and 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?
  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