U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized $77,586 combined in three seizures of travelers flying international through Washington Dulles International Airport recently for violating federal currency reporting regulations.
CBP officers seized:
- $20,211 from an Ethiopia-bound couple on Saturday. The couple reported $8,000 and then $11,600; however, a CBP currency canine alerted and CBP officers discovered additional currency in envelopes in a carry-on bag and purse, and in wallets each possessed.
- $33,796 from a Burundi woman who arrived on a flight from Ghana on July 27. The woman reported $9,000. CBP officers discovered $32,765, 483 Ghanaian Cedi and 50 UAE Dirhams for a total U.S. dollar equivalent of $33,796.
- $23,579 from a mother and son bound for Sudan on July 24. They verbally reported “less than $10,000,” and then wrote down $9,800. CBP officers discovered an additional $4,000 in a laptop case and multiple envelopes in a purse that contained a combined $10,579 for a total count of $23,579.
During each seizure, CBP officers permitted the travelers numerous opportunities to truthfully report their total currency, including having the travelers read and sign the currency reporting requirements, and make verbal and written declarations before officers conducted inspections.
Travelers may carry as much currency as they wish into and out of the United States. Federal law requires that travelers must report all U.S. and foreign monetary instruments totaling $10,000 or greater on a U.S. Treasury Department financial form. None of the currency is taxed.
“We want travelers to feel comfortable carrying as much currency and other monetary instruments as they wish into and out of the United States, but we encourage travelers to honestly report all their currency to Customs and Border Protection officer during inspection,” said Elmer Jarava, CBP Acting Port Director for the Area Port of Washington Dulles. “We hope that these currency seizures send a strong message about the consequences of violating U.S. currency reporting laws.”
Consequences for violating federal currency reporting requirements are severe. CBP may seize the violator’s currency and file criminal charges, though none of these travelers was criminally charged.
CBP provided each of the travelers a humanitarian monetary release so that they may continue their travel.