BALTIMORE—U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) seized $16,000 yesterday from a Nigerian couple for violating federal currency reporting regulations.
The passengers, who arrived to BWI from London and were destined for Essex, Md., repeatedly declared possessing only $10,000 and presented two envelopes to CBP officers containing the equivalent of $10,345 in U.S. and foreign currency. CBP officers explained the currency reporting requirements and again asked the couple if they were carrying any more currency or monetary instruments to which the passengers stated they were not. While examining the passenger's luggage, CBP officers discovered another envelope wrapped in clothing that contained $6,200 bringing the total to $16,545.
There is no limit to how much currency travelers can import or export; however federal law requires travelers to report amounts exceeding $10,000 in U.S. dollars or equivalent foreign currency.
CBP officers seized $16,000 and returned the equivalent of $545 in U.S. and foreign currency to the passengers for humanitarian relief. CBP officers also advised the travelers how to petition for the return of their 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 Ricardo Scheller, CBP port director for the Port of Baltimore. "The travelers were given multiple opportunities to truthfully declare their currency. The easiest way to hold on to your money is to report it."
In addition to currency interdiction, CBP routinely conducts inspection operations on arriving and departing international flights and intercepts narcotics, weapons, prohibited agriculture products and other illicit items.
Travelers are encouraged to visit CBP's Travel website to learn rules governing travel to and from the U.S.
The Privacy Act prohibits releasing the travelers' names since they were not criminally charged.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.