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Dulles CBP Seizes Nearly $28k in Unreported Currency from Ghana-bound Travelers

Release Date: 
May 31, 2019

Second Currency K9 Hit in as Many Days

STERLING, Virginia — On consecutive days, a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) currency detector dog alert resulted in the seizure Thursday of unreported currency from Ghana-bound travelers at Washington Dulles International Airport.

CBP officers display nearly $28,000 in unreported, seized currency at Washington Dulles International Airport May 30, 2019.
CBP officers display nearly $28,000
in unreported, seized currency at
Washington Dulles International
Airport May 30, 2019.

The currency K9 alerted to one passenger’s carry-on bag. She reported to CBP officers that she possessed $8,000. Officers discovered $11,500 in her carry-on.

The woman then admitted to traveling with four additional passengers. She allegedly reported that her travel companions were carrying currency for her, which is known as structuring, to avoid exceeding the $10,000 reporting threshold. Structuring is a serious allegation that may result in federal prosecution. However, no charges have been filed at this time.

CBP officers had the four additional travelers and their baggage pulled from the flight for further inspection. Officers discovered an additional $16,354 of the first woman’s currency among three of her four travel companions. Officers seized a total of $27,854 and provided the woman $154 as humanitarian relief. Officers released all five travelers.

All five travelers were born in Ghana. Three are naturalized U.S. citizens, one is a U.S. lawful permanent resident of Ghana citizenship, and one is a Ghana citizen.

It is perfectly legal to carry large sums of currency in or out of the United States. However, federal law requires that travelers who possess $10,000 or more in currency or other monetary instruments must report it all to a CBP officer at the airport, seaport, or land border crossing when entering or leaving the country.

“Structuring currency to deliberately circumvent U.S. law is a serious violation that brings with it potentially severe consequences to the violator, but it does happen and so Customs and Border Protection officers remain vigilant to intercept these currency structuring efforts,” said Casey Durst, CBP’s Field Operations Director in Baltimore. “CBP remains committed to enforcing all of our nation’s laws, including federal currency reporting laws, at our nation’s international ports of entry.”

On Wednesday, CBP officers seized $15,415 in unreported currency from another Ghana-bound traveler.

CBP recently issued travel tips for international travel through Washington Dulles International Airport. Chiefly among those tips is for travelers to truthfully report all currency they possess to a CBP officer during inspection.

Consequences for violating U.S. currency reporting laws are severe; penalties may include seizure of most or all of the traveler’s currency, and potential criminal charges.

CBP uses a variety of techniques to intercept narcotics, unreported currency, weapons, counterfeit consumer goods, prohibited agriculture, and other illicit products, and to assure that global tourism remains safe and strong. On a typical day, CBP seizes an average of about $290,000 in unreported or illicit currency along our nation’s borders. Learn more about what CBP accomplishes during "A Typical Day."

Travelers are encouraged to visit CBP’s Travel website to learn more about the CBP admissions process and rules governing travel to and from the U.S.

CBP's border security mission is led at ports of entry by CBP officers from the Office of Field Operations.  Please visit CBP Ports of Entry to learn more about how CBP’s Office of Field Operations secures our nation’s borders.

Learn more about CBP at CBP.gov.

Last modified: 
June 3, 2019