SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO—U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized $53,000 in unreported currency Friday, transported by three passengers boarding the M/V Caribbean Fantasy ferry departing to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
CBP Officers selected Dominican Republic citizen Mr. Felipe Alvarez, 69, for examination and explained to him the currency reporting requirements. During the interview, Mr. Alvarez declared to be traveling alone and transporting less than $10,000. Intensive examination revealed that he was traveling with two other passengers, US citizen Manuel De La Rosa, 47, and Dominican Republic citizen Cristian De La Rosa, 35, both nephews of Mr. Alvarez.
Subsequent interview and exam of the three passengers revealed non reported currency within their clothing and in their carry-on items totaling $53,726. Mr. Alvarez later admitted that the money transported by him and his nephews were proceeds of his business in the Dominican Republic.
The currency was seized under bulk cash smuggling laws and Assistant AUSA Olga Castellón approved criminal prosecution for the three individuals.
Those arrested were remanded to the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) for processing and further investigation.
"The unreported cash that we seize has an impact on criminal organizations by making it more difficult for them to further their illicit activities," said Juan Hurtado, San Juan area port director. "CBP officers remain vigilant generating important enforcement activity regularly."
Individuals are permitted to carry any amount of currency or monetary instruments into or out of the United States. However, if the quantity is $10,000 or higher, they must formally report the currency to CBP. Failure to report may result in seizure of the currency and/or arrest.
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.