U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at Washington Dulles International Airport seized $13,585 from a Ghanaian citizen Thursday, alleging that the man was violating federal currency-reporting regulations.
There is no limit to how much currency travelers can import or export; however, federal law requires travelers to report to CBP amounts exceeding $10,000 in U.S. dollars or equivalent foreign currency.
After the money was discovered, CPB officials said the unnamed man — who was boarding a flight to the Netherlands — was interviewed by CBP officers, who explained the currency and monetary instruments reporting requirements and asked him numerous times how much money he was travelling with.
CPB officials say the man declared both verbally and in writing that he had only $8,700, but a subsequent search produced a total of $13,585. The entire amount was seized.
CPB officials said $185 was returned to him to allow him to leave the airport. The man was told how he could petition for the return of his seized currency.
“Travelers who refuse to comply with federal currency reporting requirements run the risk of having their currency seized, and may potentially face criminal charges,” said Christopher Hess, CBP Port Director for the Port of Washington. “The traveler was given the opportunity to truthfully report his currency. The easiest way to hold on to your money is to report it.”
In addition to currency enforcement, CBP routinely conducts inspection operations on arriving and departing international flights and intercepts narcotics, weapons, prohibited agriculture products, and other illicit items.
“The Privacy Act prohibits releasing the traveler’s name since he was not criminally charged,” Hess said.