SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO—U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized $180,678 in unreported currency Saturday, while conducting routine outbound operations on a flight departing to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Another seizure occurred on Sunday, during an enforcement routine check at the airport’s baggage claim area, resulting in the seizure of an additional $109,989 concealed within luggage.
On Saturday, CBP officers selected United States citizen Luis Carrion-Velilla, 32, for examination, and explained to him the currency reporting requirements. Another passenger traveling with Mr. Carrion was also interviewed. During the interview, they claimed to be transporting less than $10,000. Intensive examination revealed $180,678 concealed in several locations, within clothing in their luggage, in a toiletry bag and in a false bottom compartment on a carry-on. During the interview, it was determined that all the money belonged to Mr. Carrion, which he voluntarily abandoned.
The currency was seized under bulk cash smuggling laws and Assistant AUSA Maritza Gonzalez approved criminal prosecution.
“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.
On a separate incident Sunday, law enforcement authorities seized $109, 989 during an enforcement routine check in the baggage claim area of the Luis Munoz Marin International Airport. A Puerto Rico Police canine alerted to a piece of luggage and PRPD agents found the currency hidden inside. CBP officers and Homeland Security Investigation agents provided assistance with the seizure and subsequent investigation. Local and federal law enforcement authorities in Puerto Rico will continue to work together to disrupt criminal activity in the island.
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.