Detroit - U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at the Detroit Windsor Tunnel seized a total of $19,901 in currency from two individuals returning from a trip to the Windsor Casino when they attempted to avoid declaring it by structuring it so neither carried more than $10,000 across the border.
On Monday, Nov. 1 at approximately 11:00 p.m., a car carrying two U.S. citizens entered the U.S. via the Detroit Windsor Tunnel. The occupants claimed to be returning from a night of gambling at the Windsor Casino. When asked they said they were aware of the currency reporting requirements when entering the U.S. and declared that the driver was carrying $9,400 USD and the passenger $9,500 USD. They were selected for currency verification and referred to the CBP secondary exam area.
Both subjects completed a written declaration form and answered NO to the question, "I am carrying currency or monetary instruments over $10,000 US or foreign equivalent." They both claimed to have taken $4,000 USD to the casino and were returning with their winnings. As officers counted the passengers money he became nervous and admitted that he had lost at the casino and the money he was carrying belonged to the driver.
When officers questioned the driver about his winnings he admitted that he had won $40,000 deposited $20,000 at the casino and then split the remaining money with his passenger in order to be under $10,000. This is called currency structuring in order to avoid the required declaration at the border.
"It is not illegal to carry money into or out of the country," stated Port Director Roderick Blanchard. "It is required that you give an accurate declaration of the amount of money you are carrying. Anyone carrying or causing to be carried, in excess of $10,000 dollars must fill out the appropriate paper work when entering or leaving the country."
CBP seized the entire $19,901 for currency structuring to avoid declaration. This is a civil offense and the seizure of the currency is the penalty for this offense.