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Global Entry Traveler Outfoxed by CBP Agriculture Beagle at Philadelphia International Airport

Release Date: 
October 9, 2015

CBP seizes $39k, Fines $500, and Revokes US Woman’s Trusted Traveler Privilege

PHILADELPHIA — A “trusted” traveler who tried to smuggle undeclared plants and unreported currency was outfoxed by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture detector dog at Philadelphia International Airport on Thursday.

The encounter ended when CBP seized $39,715 in unreported currency, assessed a $500 agriculture civil penalty, and revoked the traveler’s Global Entry privilege.

The agriculture beagle, Auburn, was rewarded with her favorite doggie treat.

“Customs and Border Protection places a significant amount of trust in Global Entry members and assesses an equal amount of consequence to those who egregiously violate the laws they promised to respect,” said Paul Nardella, CBP Assistant Port Director for the Area Port of Philadelphia. “These seizures illustrate again how CBP and our nation benefits tremendously from the expertise of our four-legged partners. You might be able to fool a kiosk, but you can’t fool a canine’s nose.”

CBP discovered undeclared plants and unreported currency at PHL on October 8, 2015 after a CBP agriculture detector dog alerted to a trusted travelers baggage.The U.S. woman, whose name CBP is withholding because she was not criminally charged, arrived on a flight from Athens, Greece. She processed her arrival on a Global Entry self-help kiosk and answered “no” to questions concerning agriculture products and currency exceeding $10,000.

Shortly after, K9 Auburn alerted to her checked baggage and a CBP agriculture specialist referred her to a secondary examination.

During that examination, CBP agriculture specialists discovered 18 assorted plants with roots, 4 peach pits, and basil. Phytosanitary certificates or U.S. Department of Agriculture permits are required to import plants. She had none.

CBP officers then discovered $39,715 combined in U.S. dollars and euros concealed in her baggage. The woman reported possessing only $1,500 U.S. dollars and $2,000 in euros.

There is no limit to how much currency travelers may bring to, or take from the U.S. However, federal law requires travelers to complete financial reporting forms for any amount that exceeds $10,000 in U.S. dollars or equivalent foreign currency.

CBP provides travelers with multiple opportunities to truthfully declare all reportable items in their possession, including currency and agriculture. Travelers who refuse to comply with federal reporting requirements risk severe civil penalties, currency seizure, and potential criminal charges.

CBP routinely conducts inspection operations on arriving and departing international flights and intercepts narcotics, weapons, unreported currency, prohibited agriculture products, and other illicit items. View CBP’s ‘Typical Day’ enforcement stats at CBP Snapshot.

CBP discovered undeclared plants and unreported currency at PHL on October 8, 2015 after a CBP agriculture detector dog alerted to a trusted travelers baggage.CBP agriculture specialists have extensive training and experience in the biological sciences, risk analysis, and in imported agriculture inspection techniques. CBP agriculture specialists are the first line of defense in the protection of U.S. agriculture, forest and livestock industries from exotic destructive plant pests and animal diseases.

On a typical day nationally, CBP agriculture specialists inspect over 1 million people as well as air and sea cargo imported to the United States and intercept 4,447 prohibited meat, plant materials or animal products, including 425 agriculture pests and diseases. Read more about CBP’s agriculture protection mission.

Travelers are encouraged to visit CBP’s Travel website to learn rules, tips and advice to help quickly complete their CBP international arrivals inspection.

CBP’s Global Entry program allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival at select U.S. airports. All applicants undergo a rigorous background check and in-person interview before enrollment. Any violation of the program’s terms and conditions will result in the appropriate enforcement action and termination of the traveler’s membership privileges. Visit Global Entry for more information.

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017