Tag: nogales

Stacks of U.S. currency seized by CBP for not being reported in the amount of $142,000

Unreported Cash Seized by CBP in Nogales

CBP officers in Nogales, Arizona, made some big cash seizures this week. In the first case, $143,000 was seized and in the second case, only $20,000 was seized.

Here’s the story:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Field Operations, officers arrested 2 Mexican nationals and a U.S. citizen for separate alleged attempts to smuggle nearly $163,000 in unreported currency …. through the Port of Nogales earlier this week.

Officers conducting outgoing operations at the Dennis DeConcini Crossing referred a 28-year-old Mexican national man for additional inspection of his Chevy SUV, as he attempted to enter Mexico through the port Monday afternoon. The search of the vehicle led to the discovery of several packages within the left quarter panel. The packages contained more than $142,000 in unreported U.S. currency.

Tuesday afternoon, officers conducting outbound operations at the Mariposa Crossing referred a 22-year-old Tucson woman for a further search of her Honda sedan, as she attempted to cross into Mexico through the port. Officers searched the subject, who had two bundles of unreported U.S. currency inside of her purse containing more than $20,000.

Officers seized the currency, … and vehicles, while the subjects were arrested and then turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.

Note how the $143,000 was hidden in the quarter panel of the vehicle (i.e., a body panel); and then how the $20,000 seized from the 22 year old woman was just inside her purse.

In both cases, the failure to report the money, coupled with the fact it was not presented to CBP and was in plain view, will allow CBP to allege that the money was hidden with the intent it not be reported to CBP, which is considered bulk cash smuggling.

The story also states everyone was arrested, which is for me a little surprising in the case of the woman with $20,000. I have a lot of clients who do not report amounts cash at or above that level, and they do not get arrested or face criminal sanctions. That leads me to believe this money she seized had connections to illegal activity.

Have you had money seized by CBP?

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.

$211k Cash Seized by CBP laid out on a table in stacks

$211k Cash Seized by Nogales CBP

CBP has been busy seizing cash across the country, and that is the reason my customs law blogging activity has slowed down in recent weeks. For the many readers of this blog who like these posts, I apologize. I’ll be trying to return to more frequent blogging in the next week or so.

It seems CBP has also been too busy to make many news releases about the seizure activity, too. But, today, we have word of a pretty huge seizure of $211,000 in cash being seized from a Mexican national while leaving the United States.

From the story below, it was more than just a seizure for a failure to report — but also for bulk cash smuggling. Here is the story, with scant details, but with a picture:

Customs and Border Protection officers at the Mariposa crossing in Nogales, Arizona, arrested a Mexican national Friday for attempting to transport almost $211,000 in unreported U.S. currency.

Officers conducting routine outbound inspections referred a 45-year-old man from Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, for an inspection of his Chevrolet truck and found the currency in the vehicle’s dashboard.

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


CBP Seizes Cash Stashed in Truck in Nogales

Back in June, CBP made a big bust of $145,000 in “unreported” currency that was concealed in a vehicle’s rear quarter panels as the driver, a Mexican national, was trying to leave the United States for Mexico at the DeConcini border crossing.

[On June 18], [CBP] officers conducting routine outbound inspections referred a 46-year-old Mexican man for an inspection of his Chevrolet SUV at the DeConcini crossing. Officers found more than $145,000 in unreported U.S. currency in the vehicle’s rear quarter panels.

CBP seized the cash not just because it was “not reported” but because bulk cash smuggling — the fact of hiding the money in the quarter panel of a vehicle — is illegal and there are civil and criminal penalties for it.

Because of the southern border’s famous ties to the U.S.-Mexico illegal drug trade, it’s hard to imagine a scenario where this money was not connected to illegal activity. Even if this man came upon the money in a lawful way — for example, it was a life insurance payout from his deceased father — there is still no good reason for hiding the money in the quarter panel of his vehicle.

Or is there? Years ago, we represented a person who smuggled gold pieces across the U.S. Canadian border in the airbox of his vehicle, because they thought that would be safest spot for it on his journey through the U.S. to his return home in the heart of the country.

So, while it’s very likely that this guy who had $145,000 hidden in his truck is a mule for the drug trade, attempting to move illict cash across the border… it’s definitely not the only explanation. As it is famously said, truth is stranger than fiction.

Has CBP seized currency from you?

Need help proving law source and intended use of bulk cash? 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.

CBP in Nogales seized $79,180 on May 10, 2016, which is picture on a glass-top table in bundles.

$79k Bulk Cash Seized by CBP in Arizona

On May 10, 2016, CBP seized $79,000 of bulk cash that smuggled beneath the rear seats of a Honda SUV that was driven by a 48 year old Mexican national. In the story, CBP says the money was in a “non-factory compartment” which means that the vehicle was “outfitted for smuggling.”

Customs and Border Protection officers seized more than $79,000 in unreported currency . . .  Tuesday (May10) through the Port of Nogales.

At about the same time, officers performing outbound inspections referred a 48-year-old Mexican male for further inspection of his Honda SUV. Multiple packages of unreported currency was discovered within a non-factory compartment beneath the rear seats.

I’ve represented clients in some very bizarre circumstances, and hundreds of people who have currency seized by Customs. When it comes to money, people are often irrational. That being said, the fact that this seizure occurred in Nogales, Arizona, gives the cash involved in this bulk cash smuggling seizure the tinge of illegality because of its proximity to the drug trade.

Typically, legitimate source and use of seized money must be proven in order to get the money back from CBP. When the money is seized for bulk cash smuggling, legitimate source and intended use is still necessary to prove to get some money returned, but a further analysis is whether or not forfeiture of the entire amount of currency is an excessive fine under the U.S. constitution.

Also important to note is that the Honda SUV is also subject to seizure and forfeiture because it was involved in the commission of a crime, and furthermore, because it was a vehicle outfitted for smuggling. The mere fact of a hidden compartment designed to hide contraband, even if not full of contraband, is sufficient to make the vehicle subject to seizure and forfeiture.

Customs officers seize hidden cash

Last month, CBP seized $65,000 from a Mexican national for “failing to declare” more than $65,000 in currency. They released the individual’s name, so that means he is being criminally prosecuted. Though CBP calls this a “failure to declare” it is really failure to declare (or to report) and bulk cash smuggling, because the money was concealed in the seat of the vehicle. Check out the image below. As we always note, this case differs from the scenario usually faced by our clients, which is a customs seizure of money at the airport for failure to report.

Customs officers seize hidden cash behind automobile seat.
Customs officers seize hidden cash behind automobile seat, totaling more than $65,000 in US currency.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers arrested a 24-year-old Mexican national Wednesday (July 22) for failing to declare more than $65,000 in U.S. currency when he attempted to cross into Mexico through the Port of Nogales.

Officers conducting outbound inspections at the Dennis DeConcini crossing selected a Ford sedan, driven by Marco Allan Nevarez-Guzman of Magdalena, Sonora, Mexico, for further inspection and found unreported money hidden behind the vehicle’s seats.

Officers processed the vehicle and currency for seizure, arrested and referred Nevarez to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.

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