SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO—U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized $30,007 in unreported currency last Friday from a passenger departing on board the M/V Caribbean Fantasy Ferry destined to Santo Domingo, DR. The seizure occurred during routine outbound examination of passengers at the Pan American Dock West in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Dennis Mota-Rodriguez, 50, resident of San Juan, failed to accurately declare having in his possession more than $10,000. CBP officers conducted further examination of Mota and his belongings and discovered money concealed within a book agenda, hidden within clothing in his checked luggage and wrapped on his person, held by a girdle.
The currency was seized under bulk cash smuggling laws. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents arrested Mota-Rodriguez and will proceed with an investigation.
“Transportation of currency is not illegal. However, if carrying more than $10,000 through our borders, the currency must be reported to CBP,” said Juan Hurtado, San Juan area port director. “Travelers who refuse to comply with federal currency reporting requirements run the risk of having their currency seized, and may potentially face criminal charges.”
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.
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.
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.