Tag: undeclared cash

$200,000 in Cash Seized by Customs Detroit at the Ambassador Bridge

Ambassador Bridge Site of $230k Customs Money Seizure

Detroit’s Ambassador Bridge was the site of recent money seizures of more nearly $230,000 by Customs for failure to declare cash over $10,000, in commercial vehicles traveling into Canada.

Bundles of undeclared seized cash seized by Detroit CBP The news releases, below, says the money was taken because the driver failed to report the cash at the Ambassador Bridge (but I have to imagine there is a bulk cash smuggling violation somewhere in this, too).

Here’s the Tweet from Detroit’s director of field operations announcing the seizures…

This is the biggest seizure of undeclared cash in Detroit to hit the news in a while. I’m sure the discovery of this amount of money has caused a lot of controversy and interest at the port the last few days. Here’s the full story from CBP, below:

DETROIT — Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Office of Field Operations seized $200,000 in undeclared U.S. currency at the Canadian border early Tuesday morning.

The cash was discovered by officers during a series of outbound commercial vehicle inspections near the Ambassador Bridge port of entry.

The cache of currency was seized due to failure to report, and the driver was released without further incident.

Homeland Security Investigations continues to investigate the matter. Less than 24 hours earlier, $28,000 in undeclared currency was seized at the same site.

Update 11-12-21:

This week, notice was published of the intent to forfeit the above seized cash. Anyone with an interest in it has until January 11, 2021, to file a claim (unless they received personal notice in the mail, then other deadlines apply):

2021380100131801-0001-0000, Seized on 09/28/2021; At the port of DETROIT; U.S. Currency; 2000; EA; Valued at $200,000.00; For violation of 31 USC 5317(c)(2), 31 USC 5316(a)(1)(A), 31 USC 5332(c), 31 USC 5332(a)

Those legal references mean it was seized for bulk cash smuggling and a failure to report. This is a case I would have liked. The fact that notice has been posted publicly means that the time for filing a petition has past, or the interested person probably decided to file a claim or an offer in compromise (that would probably be a bad idea).

Has Detroit CBP seized your cash?

If CBP in Detroit 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.


A CBP officer conducts a primary inspection at the SENTRI lane at Hidalgo International Bridge.

CBP seizes $11,00 from Trusted Traveler participant

Recently, CBP in Texas seized almost $11,000 from a “trusted traveler” who hid the money in her purse, in what sounds like it might be a bulk cash smuggling violation. I get several clients who have had money or undeclared goods seized, and who are members of trusted traveler programs, and are upset to find out that they are losing their trust traveler privileges. CBP has recently published a compilations of reasons people have been denied or had Global Entry revoked available here.

As this article somewhat explains, participation in these programs is a privilege, not a right; it is based on CBP’s determination that you are a low risk. If you demonstrate that you are no longer a low risk by not declaring goods or cash, then you will lose the privilege. The full story is available here, but it is edited for clarity by yours truly, as follows:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Field Operations (OFO) at the Hidalgo International Bridge recently seized $10,652 in unreported U.S. currency from a Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection (SENTRI) member utilizing the trusted traveler lane.

On March 2, CBP officers at the Hidalgo International Bridge conducting inspections at the SENTRI lane selected a 2016 Chevrolet Tahoe for further inspection. The vehicle was driven by a 40-year-old female United States citizen from Pharr, TX. During the secondary search, officers discovered a total of $10,652 in unreported U.S. currency concealed throughout the woman’s purse.

CBP OFO seized the currency and revoked the woman’s SENTRI privileges. The case remains under investigation by Homeland Security Investigations special agents.

“CBP would like to remind the traveling public that SENTRI is a trusted traveler program, and any violations of program rules, such as non-declaration of currency in excess of $10,000, can lead to permanent revocation of SENTRI privileges,” said Port Director Carlos Rodriguez, Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas Port of Entry. “SENTRI members have demonstrated that they are low-risk travelers, and should be reminded that they are not exempt from inspection and more importantly, that violations of customs, immigration, agriculture laws and federal currency reporting requirements can lead to suspension from the program.”

SENTRI is a trusted traveler program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the U.S. via a dedicated lane. Participants must undergo a rigorous background check and in-person interview.

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.

Have you had cash or goods seized by CBP?

If you had cash or goods seized by CBP and are a trusted traveler, you will lose your trusted traveler status. However, you might still be able to get the seized cash or goods back if you act quickly; contact Great Lakes Customs Law for a consultation to learn what you can do to get your cash and goods back from CBP.