U.S. Customs Seizes Bulk Cash from 23 y/o US Citizen

In a currency seizure reported by U.S. Customs, customs seized over $250k 23 year old man headed into Mexico. No mention of an arrest, but just an ongoing investigation. This seizure is probably based on both bulk cash smuggling and failure to report. Both carry criminal consequences. Customs also gets the law wrong, as we explained below, which is a great reason to hire a lawyer for your customs money seizure case. Let’s have a look at the always-interesting-facts in this currency seizure story to see what the person did wrong that caused this encounter to end up as another customs airport money seizure:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers conducting outbound enforcement operations at the Brownsville Port of Entry seized $259,750 in bulk U.S. currency. [ . . . ] Stacks of varying denominations totaling $259,750 in cash seized by customsundeclared currency seized by CBP officers and agents recently at Brownsville Port of Entry.

On Nov. 24, CBP officers working outbound enforcement operations at the Gateway International Bridge came in contact with a silver 2007 Volkswagen Jetta as it attempted to exit the United States and enter Mexico. The driver, a 23-year-old United States citizen from Brownsville, Texas was referred to secondary for further inspection. In secondary, a search of the Jetta resulted in the discovery of two packages of bulk U.S. currency hidden within the vehicle. CBP officers seized the currency the vehicle and the case had been referred to Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents for further investigation. [ . . . ]

It is not a crime to carry more than $10,000, but it is a federal offense not to declare currency or monetary instruments totaling $10,000 or more 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. 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 this guy could prove the money came from a legitimate source and had a legitimate intended use, then this customs cash seizure was completely avoidable. Near the bottom of this story customs states that the law requires that a person file a formal report of “$10,000 or higher” into or out of the United States. That is incorrect. The law requires reports of more than $10,000. If even customs doesn’t know the law, you are better of hiring an attorney.

Our customs law firm handles currency/money seizures made by customs in Detroit and around the country; call (734) 855-4999 to consult with a customs lawyer today (you can read our popular page on Responding to a Customs Money Seizure HERE).If you have had money seized by Detroit CBP/customs call our office at (734) 855-4999 to speak to a lawyer, or e-mail us through our contact page (see our case results here). 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 customs currency seizures:

  1. Seizure of currency and monetary instruments by U.S. CustomsKeep Calm and Declare Monetary Instruments Exceeding $10,000 USD
  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