Tag: smuggling

CBP Officers Arrest Man with $165,000 in Unreported Currency at the Laredo Port of Entry

Customs money seizure news releases from U.S. Customs & Border Protection have been sparse since customs renovated with their website. But, after nearly two months, we have a new story about a recent customs currency case at the Mexican border. This story is a about a 60 year old Mexican national from Louisiana who was transporting $165,000 in currency on his body.

LAREDO, Texas – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers and agents at the Laredo Port of Entry seized more than $150,000 in unreported currency as the result of a single enforcement action that resulted in the arrest of the man who had the currency in his possession.

“Stopping the export of unreported currency is an important role in the overall scheme of hindering the flow of illicit proceeds at U.S. borders,” said Jose R. Uribe, Acting CBP Port Director, Laredo. “Laredo CBP officers and agents remain dedicated to the mission of applying export rules and regulations and hindering the cycle of these illegal outbound exportations.”

The interception of the currency occurred on Friday, April 11, while CBP officers and Border Patrol agents conducting outbound (southbound) inspections at the Lincoln-Juarez International Bridge came across a 2011 Honda Civic driven by a 60-year-old Mexican citizen from St. Amant, La. A CBP officer referred the male driver and vehicle for a secondary examination that resulted in the discovery of eight bundles containing approximately $165,000 in unreported currency on his person.

CBP officers seized the unreported currency, and the vehicle. The driver was arrested by CBP officers and turned 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.

The original news release for this customs money seizure is available here.

The reason your currency was seized by customs may be different. The vast majority of my client’s have had their money taken by customs at the airport or at the land borders because of miscommunication, ignorance of the reporting requirement, confusion, fatigue from travel, and other times because of unfair, if not necessarily illegal, enforcement tactics used by customs. If you have had money seized by customs 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 nationwide, including Detroit, Chicago, Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Orlando.

Please read these other articles from our customs law blog:

  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. How do I get my seized money back from customs?
  8. Getting money seized by U.S. Customs back while staying overseas
  9. How long does it take Customs to decide a petition for a currency/monetary instrument seizure?
  10. Targeted Enforcement for Customs Money Seizures

CBP at JFK Seizes Cocaine in Meat

Customs seized over 7lbs of cocaine from a man who apparently tried to smuggle it into the United States by hiding it in frozen chunks of meat from Trinidad. If CBP published statistics on stupid smuggling attempts that are bound to fail, this would go down as one of the stupidest smuggling attempts of the year.

Why is it so stupid? Because it is basically impossible to import meat into the United States without getting advance permission from either the FDA, USDA, or both — more on those restrictions HERE. Put simply, the problem is that the smuggler basically tried to hide something illegal in something that was illegal; typical smuggling attempts have people hiding illegal merchandise in or around perfectly legal merchandise.

Not only was this poorly planned for that reason, but who could ever doubt that a dog – trained for smelling both the presence of meat and narcotics – would not alert to cocaine wrapped in juicy chunks of meat? I mean, take a look at the picture below.

JAMAICA, N.Y. — An arriving passenger at John F. Kennedy International Airport had a different kind of ‘beef’ when encountered by U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers.Meat seized by CBP also contained cocaine

On March 20, CBP officers stopped Mr. Yudishtir Maharaj who was arriving on a flight from Port of Spain, Trinidad. During the course of the inspection CBP officers discovered three large
CBP at JFK Seizes Cocaine in Meatpackages of frozen meat within his luggage. When probed, the frozen packages of meat produced a white powder that tested positive for cocaine. Mr. Maharaj was arrested for the importation of a controlled substance and was turned over to Homeland Security Investigations. The total weight of cocaine seized is approximately 7.35 lbs.

“This latest seizure demonstrates the vigilance of our CBP officers, and their excellence in detecting those who would try to smuggle these illegal substances,” said Robert E. Perez, Director, Field Operations New York.

Mr. Maharaj now faces federal narcotics smuggling charges and will be prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the U.S. Eastern District Court of New York.

All defendants are considered innocent until proven guilty.

I do not represent narcotics smugglers, but a lot of innocent people and people acting in good faith or from a position of ignorance get their property seized by customs all the time. If you have had merchandise, property, orcash 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 Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland, New York, and many other places, and not just locally.

CBP at JFK Seizes More Than $121,000 of Counterfeit Cash

Any customs lawyer will tell you that it’s better to get caught failing to report real currency than to get caught importing in counterfeit money. In this case, the law has served its intended purpose, as the following news release for a counterfeit currency seizure at JFK Airport in New York City clearly demonstrates

On February 21, 2014, CBP Officers selected [a traveler] for a random baggage examination [who] was returning from Lima, Peru and presented one checked suitcase for Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnailinspection. During the examination of his checked bag, the officer removed a cardboard diary box. The inside cover was sliced open revealing what appeared to be counterfeit U. S. $100 bills.

In total, $121,300 in counterfeit U. S. currency was concealed in one diary box, two wallets, one fabric box, and two cloth shoe racks. Mr. Rodriguez Ezeta was placed under arrest, and the counterfeit $100 bills were seized. The counterfeit currency and all evidence have been turned over to the Secret Service for further investigation, and [the individual will be] prosecuted by the U. S. Attorney’s Office Eastern District.

Based on these facts, it seems fairly clear that the person transporting the counterfeit currency knew it was counterfeit; I say that because of the concealment of the counterfeit currency in several places throughout his luggage. 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 Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland, New York, and many other places, and not just locally.

CBP at JFK Seizes $150,000 in Counterfeit Currency

Any customs lawyer will tell you that it’s better to get caught failing to report real currency than to get caught importing in counterfeit money. You will note that this (counterfeit) cash seizure occurred 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. In this case, the law has served its intended purpose, as the following news release clearly demonstrates

Jamaica, N.Y. — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at John F. Kennedy International Airport seized 1500 counterfeit $100 Federal Reserve Notes (bills) last month.

On December 14, CBP officers selected Ciara Ryan for a random baggage examination. Ryan, 38 was returning from Colombia and had two bags in her possession. The first bag was examined by officers and was found to have a strong odor of glue coming from it. Upon further inspection, CBP found alterations to its bottom; within the alterations were several suspected counterfeit U.S. $100 bills.
A black leather satchel also in her possession was examined and found to contain more suspected counterfeit bills concealed within its lining. Ms. Ryan was placed under arrest and a total of 1,500 counterfeit $100 bills ($150,000) were seized. She will be prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the U.S. Eastern District Court of New York.

Based on these facts, it seems fairly clear that the person transporting the counterfeit currency knew it was counterfeit; I say that because of the concealment of the counterfeit currency in a false compartment in the bag and in the lining. 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 Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland, New York, and many other places, and not just locally.

Currency Reporting Violations and the Global Entry Program

As some of my currency seizure clients have come to find out, failing to properly report currency over $10,000 being transported out of the United States can result in removal from trusted traveler programs. This news release from my local port of Detroit by customs confirms it:

Detroit – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at Detroit Metro Airport announces that three travelers enrolled in the Global Entry program have been removed due to zero tolerance violations of program rules.

Global Entry is a CBP program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States. The program benefits CBP and participating foreign governments by allowing them to focus efforts on unknown and potentially higher risk air travelers, thereby facilitating the movement of trusted travelers in a more efficient and effective manner.

“Global Entry provides a level of trust not afforded to regular air travelers,” said Devin Chamberlain, CBP Port Director. “Violations of any kind will result in removal from the program.”

The violators, all returning U.S. citizens failed to declare personal use steroids and prescription drugs and failed to report the transport of currency over $10,000. Two events occurred February 26 and the last March 1, 2014.

If you have had money seized by customs 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 nationwide, including Detroit, Chicago, Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Orlando.

Please read these other articles from our customs law blog:

  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. How do I get my seized money back from customs?
  8. Getting money seized by U.S. Customs back while staying overseas
  9. How long does it take Customs to decide a petition for a currency/monetary instrument seizure?
  10. Targeted Enforcement for Customs Money Seizures

Seattle Customs Seizures for Currency and Trademark Violations

Have you had your merchandise or currency seized in Seattle? You’re not alone. The annual fiscal year summaries have been released by the Port of Seattle, with the following statistics:

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailSeattle – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), announces that more than 26.4 million travelers were screened for entry into the United States during fiscal year (FY) 2013 (October 1, 2012 through September 30, 2013) by the 1,364 officers and 122 agriculture specialists assigned to the Seattle Field Office (SFO). Among those travelers, CBP discovered $2.8 million in unreported currency, interdicted more than 767 pounds of illegal drugs, made 1,147 arrests, and seized more than 113,000 prohibited plant and animal products.

If you have had your money seized by customs, read visit our page that is devoted to understanding currency seizures to help you understand the process.

But, the news release deals not only with customs money seizures, either, but also with customs seized merchandise imported for violation of intellectual property rights, too. We have previously written articles on trademark infringement gray market goods and trademark infringement, which can help you understand the process more.

CBP continues to protect consumers by seizing prohibited, unlawful, or undeclared goods destined for the United States. [ . . . ] In Seattle, CBP officers and import specialists seized a shipment of handbags in November 2012 containing 644 items, including counterfeit Louis Vuitton, Coach, and Versace purses with a manufacturer’s suggested retail value of nearly $100,000. [ . . . ]

Protecting consumers from hazardous products is another way CBP stands guard over the flow of commerce. CBP officers partnered with Consumer Product Safety Commission investigators in Seattle to seize various shipments of foreign-made children’s products containing excessive levels of lead; the unsafe imports included wearing apparel and necklaces, reindeer ornaments activity kits, magic coin tricks, and dart ball game sets. Another hazardous product targeted are toys intended for use by children under 3 years of age; two shipments totaling 4,000 cartons of plastic bath toys were seized as they posed a potential choking or ingestion hazard to America’s children.

If you have had money or merchandise seized by customs call our office at (734) 855-4999 to speak to a customs lawyer, or e-mail us through our contact page. Once your merchandise is seized, Customs may issue a penalty for the violation of law itself. If you have received a notice of penalty from U.S. Customs call our office immediately to discuss the possibility of filing a petition to reduce the penalty amount.

We are able to assist petitions and in seizures by customs nationwide.

Border Patrol Agents Seize Over $1.5

Though not exactly the type of customs money seizure that my client’s experience (which usually at a land border crossing or at an airport), nevertheless Customs & Border protection recently issued a news release about some check-point currency seizures that the border patrol wing of U.S. Customs and Border Patrol executed.

San Clemente, Calif. — In two separate events, U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested two foreign nationals with large quantities of concealed bulk cash.

The first event occurred Friday at 4:30 p.m., when an Uzbekistan national, who is a permanent U.S. resident, arrived at the San Clemente checkpoint driving a commercial truck. The 27-year-old man was hauling five used cars on a trailer. The man was referred to secondary, where a K-9 performed a cursory inspection resulting in a positive alert. California Army National Guard members, operating an x-ray system, detected anomalies in two Acura MDXs. Agents searched those vehicles and discovered false compartments in their rear bumpers. The compartments were filled with 49 bundles of cash. The bundles contained an approximate total of $1,476,245 in U.S. currency. The cash and two Acuras were seized by the U.S. Border Patrol.

The second event occurred on Sunday afternoon around 2 p.m., as agents were patrolling I-5. Agents observed a suspicious vehicle travelling southbound and initiated a vehicle stop. The 39-year-old Mexican national driver was holding a valid visa. Agents requested and received permission to search the man’s vehicle. Upon inspection, agents discovered $49,900 inside a black bag and inside the man’s jacket. An additional $10,000 was in the man’s pockets. When questioned, the man stated that the $10K was his, but he did not have a receipt of declaration for bringing the money into the U.S. He claimed that the other $49,900 did not belong to him and that he did not want to be associated with it. The driver is being held in Department of Homeland Security custody with removal proceedings pending. The vehicle and cash were seized by the U.S. Border Patrol.

If you have had money seized by customs 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 nationwide, including Detroit, Chicago, Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Orlando.

Please read these other articles from our customs law blog:

  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. How do I get my seized money back from customs?
  8. Getting money seized by U.S. Customs back while staying overseas
  9. How long does it take Customs to decide a petition for a currency/monetary instrument seizure?
  10. Targeted Enforcement for Customs Money Seizures

Customs Seizes $19,800 at Border

Customs executed another customs money seizure at a Texas border crossing; this story just doesn’t happen at land borders like our shared border with Canada, but also at international airports. This particular tale of woe concerns a woman who had 3 vacuum sealed packages containing a total of $19,800 — that they were vacuum sealed would most likely indicate to Customs that this was not an inadvertent failure to file a currency and monetary instrument report, but rather an attempt to smuggle money without alerting the drug/currency-sniffing dogs to the presence of the money.

Eagle Pass, Texas – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers in Eagle Pass seized more than $19,000 in undeclared currency Thursday afternoon.

“Large amounts of currency may be imported and exported with the proper documentation,” said Cynthia O. Rodriguez, CBP Port Director, Eagle Pass. “Failure to report international transit of $10,000 or more could mean forfeiture of funds and criminal sanctions.Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

“Seizing undeclared currency at ports of entry serves to deprive criminal organizations of their profits.”

Shortly after 1 p.m. Thursday, CBP officers at Eagle Pass International Bridge I encountered a pedestrian as she was exiting the United States bound for Mexico. During inspection, officers discovered the woman, a 22-year-old citizen of Mexico, had a large quantity of U.S. currency in her possession. Officers seized three vacuum-sealed packages containing a total of $19,800. The woman was turned over to Homeland Security Investigations for federal prosecution.

The reason your currency was seized by customs may be different. The vast majority of my client’s have had their money taken by customs at the airport or at the land borders because of miscommunication, ignorance of the reporting requirement, confusion, fatigue from travel, and other times because of unfair, if not necessarily illegal, enforcement tactics used by customs. If you have had money seized by customs 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 nationwide, including Detroit, Chicago, Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Orlando.

Please read these other articles from our customs law blog:

  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. How do I get my seized money back from customs?
  8. Getting money seized by U.S. Customs back while staying overseas
  9. How long does it take Customs to decide a petition for a currency/monetary instrument seizure?
  10. Targeted Enforcement for Customs Money Seizures

Customs Seizes $80,000 in Currency from Smuggler

Another day, another customs money seizure. This again demonstrates that, as in countless other incidents, the concealment of the cash is a smuggling offense. If this was just a civil seizure and not a criminal seizure, the woman could try to prove legitimate source and legitimate intended use and petition to get her money back; then this situation would be completely avoidable. But now, even if she is ultimately found not guilty of a crime, she will still face civil forfeiture of the money and, if she wants it back, will have to fight for its return administratively, or in the courts.

If you have had money seized by customs 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 nationwide, including Detroit, Chicago, Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Orlando.

The full story is here:

San Diego — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the Otay Mesa port of entry Tuesday arrested a Fresno woman after discovering nearly $80,000 in unreported U.S. currency during an alleged smuggling attempt.

The incident occurred shortly before 1:30 p.m. on February 11, when CBP officers were conducting southbound inspections of travelers heading to Mexico along the 905 south. A CBP officer targeted a blue 2007 Dodge Charger and referred the driver and vehicle for a more in-depth examination.

A CBP officer with a currency and firearms detector dog screened the vehicle, and the canine alerted to the dashboard on the passenger side. Officers discovered several bundles of U.S. currency concealed in the dashboard area behind the vehicle’s glove compartment.

Officers extracted three bundles with $79,925 in cash from the vehicle.

The driver, a 35-year-old Mexican citizen and legal permanent resident of the U.S., was arrested and turned over to the custody of Homeland Security Investigations agents for further processing, and was later transported to the Metropolitan Correctional Center to await criminal arraignment.

CBP seized the vehicle and currency.

It is a federal offense not to declare currency or monetary instruments totaling more than $10,000 to a CBP officer upon entry or exit from the U.S. or to conceal it with intent to evade reporting requirements. Failure to declare may result in seizure of the currency and/or arrest.

Please read these other articles from our customs law blog:

  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. How do I get my seized money back from customs?
  8. Getting money seized by U.S. Customs back while staying overseas
  9. How long does it take Customs to decide a petition for a currency/monetary instrument seizure?
  10. Targeted Enforcement for Customs Money Seizures

Customs Merchandise & Property Seizures in the Caribbean

U.S. Customs & Border Protection in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands recently reported their annual fiscal year statistics, which included the following nugget about currency seizures performed by customs. Most of these customs currency seizures occur at airports and water ports; we have reported on numerous currency seizures occurring at U.S. ports in the Caribbean in previous articles posted. The amount money customs seizes from travelers is staggering:

In Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, CBP officers and agents . . . seized approximately $3.5 million in unreported currency in FY 2013, which runs from October 1, 2012 to September 30, 2013.

If you have had your money seized by customs, read visit our page that is devoted to understanding currency seizures to help you understand the process.

But, the news release deals not only with customs money seizures, either, but also with customs seized merchandise imported for violation of intellectual property rights, too. We have previously written articles on trademark infringement gray market goods and trademark infringement, which can help you understand the process more.

CBP officers conducted more than 164 seizures related Intellectual Property Rights violations, with a domestic value of approximately $1.9 million.

If you have had money or merchandise seized by customs call our office at (734) 855-4999 to speak to a customs lawyer, or e-mail us through our contact page. Once your merchandise is seized, Customs may issue a penalty for the violation of law itself. If you have received a notice of penalty from U.S. Customs call our office immediately to discuss the possibility of filing a petition to reduce the penalty amount.

We are able to assist petitions and in seizures by customs nationwide, including Detroit, Cleveland, Chicago, Buffalo, New York, and Los Angeles.