PHILADELPHIA, USA -- US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized a combined $96,683 from two women heading to Jamaica on consecutive days earlier this month for violating federal currency reporting regulations.
CBP officers stopped the first woman as she attempted to board a flight to Montego Bay on January 4. CBP officers explained federal currency reporting regulations to the woman and she reported that she possessed $4,900. A CBP examination of both the woman’s carry-on bag and her checked luggage revealed a total of $65,643, including some currency concealed inside children’s shoes.
The following day, CBP officers stopped another woman boarding the Montego Bay-bound flight. After CBP officers explained the currency reporting regulations, the woman reported $5,000 to $6,000. She then removed an envelope from her carry-on bag that contained $10,700. CBP officers then discovered an additional $13,340 in the woman’s carry-on bag. The woman then admitted that there was additional currency in her checked luggage. CBP officers counted a total of $31,040
Neither woman was criminally charged. CBP officers seized the currency and released the women.
There is no limit to how much currency that travellers can bring into, or take out of the United States. Travellers are required to formally report amounts of $10,000 or more in US dollars, equivalent foreign currency, or other monetary instruments.
“These are two very expensive lessons that these women learned, and we hope that this experience entices other travelers to truthfully report to Customs and Border Protection officers the total amount of currency that they bring to the US, or intend to take from the US,” said Tarance Drafts, acting CBP port director for the Area Port of Philadelphia. “CBP derives no great pleasure from seizing travellers’ currency. However, there are severe consequences for failing to comply with our nation’s laws.”
In both cases, CBP officers were conducting routine enforcement operations on outbound international flights.
CBP’s Port of Philadelphia seized $1,319,195 in unreported currency during Fiscal Year 2013 (October 1, 2012 – September 30, 2013).
CBP routinely conducts such inspections on arriving and departing international passengers and cargo, and searches for terrorist weapons, dangerous drugs, unreported currency, counterfeit merchandise, prohibited agriculture, and other illicit products.