ST. THOMAS, Virgin Islands – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Air and Marine Operations (AMO) agents seized $145,000 from a vessel operated by 3 US citizens. All subjects were released pending further investigation.
“Our agents remain vigilant for illegal smuggling operations, as well as money laundering,” stated Johnny Morales Director of Air Operations for the Caribbean Air and Marine Branch. During a maritime patrol, a St. Thomas-based marine crew located a vessel with 3 men traversing around the waters of the US Virgin Islands.
The vessel heaved and was escorted for inspection into a local marina, where one of the vessel occupants attempted to flee and was subsequently detained. He had a brown bag which contained a significant amount of US currency.
The bag contained $145,000 which was seized for a civil forfeiture under title 18 USC section 981.
Federal statute allows CBP officers and agents to inspect and search all persons, baggage, and other merchandise arriving in or leaving the United States. As part of the inspection process, CBP officers and agents must verify the identity of persons, determine the admissibility of travelers, and look for possible terrorist weapons, controlled substances, and a variety of other prohibited items.
Air and Marine Operations (AMO) is a federal law enforcement organization dedicated to serving and protecting the American people through advanced aeronautical and maritime capabilities.
AMO's specialized law enforcement capabilities allow AMO to make significant contributions to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) efforts, as well as to federal, state, local and tribal agencies. AMO conducts its mission between ports of entry, in the maritime environment and within the nation’s interior.
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.