Chicago - U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers conducting outbound enforcement operations at Chicago O'Hare International Airport seized over $52,000 in U.S. currency on March 14.
Among other passengers, CBP officers selected a husband and wife, traveling to Syria onboard Royal Jordanian Airlines, for an outbound currency verification examination. Prior to departure, CBP officers explained the currency reporting requirements to the husband and his wife; they stated they were departing with only $9,000. During verification the husband removed $4,000 from his wallet. Subsequently, a routine inspection revealed over $48,340 between the husband's and wife's carry-on luggage.
"The exportation of currency is not illegal provided it is properly declared," said David Murphy, CBP director of field operations in Chicago. "Our CBP officers provide every traveler the opportunity to declare their money. In this case the family didn't take advantage of the chances they were provided."
The husband claimed ownership of all currency in their possession. The total amount of undeclared currency seized was $52,340. This fiscal year to date, CBP officers in Chicago have seized over $290,000 in undeclared currency and monetary instruments.
It is not a crime to carry more than $10,000, but it is a federal offense not to declare currency or monetary instruments totaling $10,000 or more to a CBP officer upon entry or exit from the U.S. Failure to declare may result in seizure of the currency and possibly arrest. An individual may petition for the return of currency seized by CBP officers, but the petitioner must prove that the source and intended use of the currency was legitimate.