Seized currency

The unreported currency was discovered in the traveler's carryon bag.

STERLING, Va. –U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at Washington Dulles International Airport seized nearly $44,000 in unreported currency from an Ethiopia-bound traveler Oct. 5.

CBP officers inspected a traveler as he attempted to board his departing flight. The man, a Cameroon citizen and U.S. lawful permanent resident, reported that he possessed $10,000 and completed a financial reporting form. While examining the man’s carryon bag, CBP officers discovered $43,580. Officers seized $43,000 and returned $580 to the man as humanitarian relief. Officer released him to continue his travel.

CBP is not releasing the man’s name since he was not criminally charged. An investigation continues.

“Customs and Border Protection has observed that unreported bulk currency being smuggled from the United States may be the illicit proceeds from narcotics smuggling, counterfeiting, and other nefarious activities,” said Casey Durst, director of Field Operations for CBP’s Baltimore Field Office. “CBP will remain steadfast in our commitment to enforcing all of our nation’s laws and intercepting currency smuggling attempts.”

Although there is no limit to the amount of money that travelers may carry when crossing U.S. borders, federal law [31 U.S.C. 5316] requires that travelers report currency or monetary instruments in excess of $10,000 to a CBP officer at the airport, seaport, or land border crossing when entering or leaving the United States. Read more about currency reporting requirements.

During inspections, CBP officers ensure that travelers fully understand federal currency reporting requirements and offer travelers multiple opportunities to accurately report all currency and monetary instruments they possess before examining a traveler’s carryon or checked baggage.

Consequences for violating U.S. currency reporting laws are severe; penalties may include seizure of most or all of the traveler’s currency, and potential criminal charges. On average, CBP seized about $207,000 every day in unreported or illicit currency along our nation’s borders. Learn more about what CBP accomplished during "A Typical Day" in 2019.

An individual may petition for the return of seized currency, but the petitioner must prove that the source and intended use of the currency was legitimate.

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