Houston - U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Houston, seized $253,294 in cash and $159,382 in gold and silver in 14 separate seizures during May.
"Customs and Border Protection is charged with enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws," said Jeffrey O. Baldwin, Sr., CBP Houston field operations director. "In this instance, the law requires anyone traveling to or from the U.S. carrying monetary instruments exceeding $10,000 declare that amount. When travelers fail to do that, they run the risk of having that currency or monetary instruments seized."
In nine separate instances, CBP officers seized currency from travelers departing the U.S. without declaring actual amounts even when asked directly. Officers discovered undeclared currency stuffed in envelopes, in pockets or carry-on bags and, in one instance, the currency was sewn into the traveler's boxer shorts.
Officers seized one bar of gold, two silver bullion bars and three bottles of gold nuggets because travelers failed to file a shipper's export declaration. This automated declaration is required when transporting a commodity out of the country valued at least $2,500. Failure to file a shipper's export declaration can result in the commodity's seizure.
According to the Department of Treasury's Financial Crimes Network, there is no limit to the amount of currency a traveler can bring into or take out of the country as long as any amount exceeding $10,000 is filed with CBP.
Seized currency is turned over to CBP's Fines, Penalties and Forfeitures division while Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigates to determine if criminal proceedings are warranted. All seized currency not related to a criminal case will be forward to the Department of Treasury.
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.