Tag: puerto rico

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ICE arrests reggaeton singer for bulk cash smuggling

No one is exempt from the requirement to report more than $10,000 to CBP upon entering or leaving the United States, and other customs territories (which includes Puerto Rico). Earlier this year, Customs seized $51,802 from a reggaeton singer who goes by the stage name Farruko. Not only was the money seized, but the Farruko was arrested.

Basically, Farruko flew via helicopter from Dominican Republic to Puerto Rico with more than $50,000. Upon his arrival in Puerto Rico, he completed the standard customs form on which he denied traveling with more than $10,000. However, CBP searched his bag and found cash, including some hidden in “the soles of his shoes.”

Presumably, the money was seized the same day (though the story does not so state); the next day, HSI agents obtained an arrest warrant and also arrested the singer for, presumably, bulk cash smuggling and failure to file a currency report.

The full story, originally HERE, is as follows:

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – A reggaeton singer was arrested Tuesday in Bayamon for failure to declare transportation of monetary instruments more than $10,000 and for bulk cash smuggling into the United States. The arrest is the result of a joint investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

On April 2, Carlos Efrén Reyes-Rosado, aka Farruko, 27, traveled by helicopter from the Dominican Republic to Puerto Rico. When Reyes-Rosado filled out the CBP 6059B customs declaration form, he indicated that he was not carrying more than $10,000.

HSI special agents initially detained him at the Isla Grande airport in San Juan after a search of his bags revealed that he was carrying approximately $51,802 in U.S. currency in his luggage and in the soles of his shoes in his bags.

On April 3, U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce McGiverin authorized a criminal complaint and issued an arrest warrant against Reyes-Rosado. HSI special agents arrested him the same day.

Reyes-Rosado had his preliminary hearing before McGiverin Wednesday.

[ . . . ]

Assistant U.S. Attorney María L. Montañez oversees the prosecution of the case. If convicted, the defendant faces a fine of no more than $250,000; five years in prison, or both; and forfeiture of the property involved in the offense.

Have you had bulk cash seized?

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 CBP seized bulk 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 San Juan Seizes $844,000 Smuggled in TVs

This year, United States Customs & Border Protection officers in San Juan, Puerto Rico, made a staggering cash seizure of $844,000 that being exported from the Puerto Rico (a territory, therefore, within the customs territory of the United States).

Though the story is lacking in many details, it appears the vehicle was being exported from Puerto Rico to destinations unknown, when Customs officers became suspicious about it for some reason. They pulled the vehicle aside for closer examination, and discovered 16 smart TV boxes.

After imaging the boxes, they opened them up and “bundles containing US currency appeared.” That’s how the story puts it (was the cash hidden inside the boxes like a jack-in-the-box?).

Otherwise, the story – though published through another media outlet and available for reading here — appears to hew closely to the standard CBP news release narrative, including a disclaimer that it is OK for travelings to carry more than $10,000 into or out of the country, but it must be reported. This is confusing, especially because the story makes no factual assertion that the money was carried by a traveler.

 

U.S. CBP seized cash hidden in a shipping container at the San Juan, Puerto Rico seaport.

CBP Seizes $29,000 Smuggled at San Juan

A few weeks back, CBP announced another recent seizure of unreported cash at the San Juan seaport in a shipment of cargo containers. A customs cash seizure in Puerto Rico also happened back in May. The story makes the same curiously absent identification of the event as being an incident of bulk cash smuggling, not just a failure to report.

In this case, the seizure of cash happened when U.S. Customs & Border Protection offciers were examining cargo containers and discovered some anomalies (presumably when imaging) a 55 gallon drum. The cash was destined for the Dominican Republic, as below:

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers from the Anti-Terrorism Contraband Enforcement Team (A-TCET) seized approximately $29,000 in unreported currency in an outbound enforcement action at the San Juan Seaport.

The interception occurred Oct. 21 while CBP officers were examining cargo containers at a CBP facility.  CBP officers conducted an intensive secondary examination of a container and discovered anomalies on a 55 gallon storage drum. Further examination revealed the hidden currency.  The container was destined to the Dominican Republic.

This is interesting because it again demonstrates that the currency reporting law applies equally to the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico.

Have you had cash seized by CBP in Puerto Rico?

If CBP seized your cash in Puerto Rico, you need a lawyer. That’s what we do. 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.

U.S. CBP seized cash hidden in a shipping container at the San Juan, Puerto Rico seaport.

CBP Seized Cash in Shipping Container

Not every cash seizure made by U.S. Customs & Border Protection involves a traveler (or a drug mule) carrying cash into or out of the country at a border crossing or one of the many international airports. Sometimes cash is seized at border when it is hidden (smuggled) in mail, packages, or as recently happened in San Juan, Puerto Rico, CBP seized cash in a shipping container.

This isn’t the first time a shipping container has been the home for hundreds of thousands of dollars: see our other stories about CBP Uses Tech to Seize Hidden Cash and Seizure of $325,000 Smuggled leaving Puerto Rico.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers conducting outbound cargo operations at the San Juan Seaport seized approximately $415,000 US dollars on Wednesday. The money was found in hidden compartments of an appliance transported inside a cargo container.  The cargo was leaving Puerto Rico en route to the Dominican Republic onboard M/V Auto Baltic.

CBP personnel selected the container and its contents for an intensive examination after a preliminary non-intrusive inspection revealed certain anomalies. Subsequently a physical inspection revealed sixty three (63) bundles of hidden US Currency for an amount of $414,980.00 dollars.

Of course after CBP found the money in the container, it was seized. The full story indicates there was a failure to report (true, indeed), but in addition, this best falls under the laws against bulk cash smuggling; that is, when cash is hidden with the intent that it not be reported to government when entering or leaving the United States.

Proving legitimate source and legitimate intended use may be helpful in getting some of this money back. But not necessarily. And incredibly, sometimes people legitimately transfer money like this and avoid it going through typical bank channels. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with importing or exporting cash, so long as it reported and has no nexus to illegal activity.

But now that no report was filed for this movement of cash, it’s been seized. And bulk cash smuggling case are the most difficult to win.

Has CBP seized cash in a shipping container from you?

If CBP seized cash from you in a shipping container 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.

 

3 Currency Seizures Net CBP $74,500

CBP seized almost $75,000 in cash during 3 separate incidents at the port in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Twoof the incidents described below state that the money was “hidden” — first “within a suitcase” and “hidden in separate places on his belongings,” and the story says all currency was seized for “bulk cash smuggling“. As explained in that link, bulk cash smuggling essentially occurs when the money is hidden with the intent to evade the reporting requirement.

Money is often “hidden” because no one in the right mind would transport more than $10,000 out in the open, and so that is why the intent is so important. The salient portion of the story is quoted below (full story is here):

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized over $74,500 in unreported currency in three separate incidents last weekend.

In the first incident, after arrival at the Luis Munoz Marin International Airport from St. Thomas on October 2, a canine alerted to a passenger’s belongings. CBP officers interviewed him and his traveling companion. An inspection revealed over $15,000 of unreported Currency%20seizure3[1]currency, on their person and hidden within a suitcase. The currency was seized.

That same day, CBP officers were conducting outbound inspection on a flight destined to the Dominican Republic and interviewed three passengers after a canine alerted to their luggage. During inspection, $29,700 of unreported currency was discovered, which they later claimed someone paid them to transport to the Dominican Republic. The money was seized.

On another incident, a passenger arriving at the Luis Munoz Marin International Airport from Bogota, Colombia on October 4 was selected for CBP inspection. Currency reporting requirements were explained multiple times and the passenger gave conflicting amounts, finally claiming he was carrying $20,000. Currency verification revealed a total of $29,280 hidden in separate places on his belongings. The currency was seized.

The currency was seized under bulk cash smuggling laws. Failure to report may result in seizure of the currency and/or arrest.

“Transportation of currency is not illegal. However, if carrying more than $10,000 through our borders, the currency must be reported to CBP,” said Juan Hurtado, San Juan Area Port Director. “Travelers who refuse to comply with federal currency reporting requirements run the risk of having their currency seized, and may potentially face criminal charges.”

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

US CBP Seizes $10.6M Cash in Caribbean in FY 2014

Last year, U.S. Customs & Border Protection — CBP — in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands seized $10.6 million dollars in unreported currency, smuggled bulk cash, or unlawful currency structuring violations. Last year I called that an overwhelming amount of seized currency.

Most of these customs currency seizures occur at airports, ferry crossings, etc. CBP for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands reported their annual fiscal year statistics for 2014 and this currency seizure number has more than doubled. That is more than overwhelming, it is tremendous… the story also compares currency seizures with those in California, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. All areas in which drug smuggling is pervasive.

In Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, CBP officers and agents seized over 51,043 pounds of narcotics with an estimated street value of approximately 650 million and seized approximately $10.6 million in unreported currency in FY 2014, which runs from October 1, 2013 to September 30, 2014.

But later the story says:

Furthermore, $8.4 million of currency interdictions were reported and over 80 firearms were seized.

$8.4M or $10.6M? Who’s counting over there?! And this is the same government that seizes currency for any mis-report who can’t get their facts straight for their news releases.

If you have had cash seized by customs and are contemplating what to do next, please make use of the other information available on this website or 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