Impostor to French Passport and $61k Currency Seizure Top Busy Weekend for CBP at Washington Dulles
STERLING, VA.—A Moroccan man with a fraudulent French passport and a Gambian man with $64,770 in undeclared currency topped a busy weekend for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at Washington Dulles International.
CBP also seized 49 dried seahorses and two cans of sturgeon caviar, collected $900 in agriculture penalties for undeclared prohibited food products, and refused admission to several foreign nationals for a variety of immigration law violations including overstaying a previous visit, working without authorization and having a child at taxpayer expense.
"These cases are a microcosm of the enforcement work that Customs and Border Protection conducts every day at our 329 ports of entry nationwide," said Christopher Hess, CBP port director for the Port of Washington, D.C. "CBP is the nation's lead border security agency and enforces more than 400 laws and regulations for more than 40 different agencies. It's a vital mission and one that we take very seriously."
CBP routinely conducts inspection operations on arriving and departing international passengers and cargo, and searches for terrorist weapons, illicit narcotics, unreported currency, counterfeit merchandise, and prohibited agriculture and other products.
The following are details of the more serious of CBP's enforcement activities.
On Saturday, CBP officers and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) discovered $64,770 in U.S. dollars that the Gambian man had concealed throughout his possessions. The man initially reported to two CBP officers separately that he did not possess more than $10,000 in U.S. dollars or equivalent foreign currency. After CBP explained the currency reporting requirements, the man then reported that he possessed no more than $14,000. After an initial baggage examination revealed $44,750, the man completed a U.S. Treasury currency reporting form reporting $44,750. A subsequent examination of a carry case revealed an additional $20,000. CBP seized $61,770, released $3,000 to the man for humanitarian purposes, and then released him.
Also on Saturday, CBP officers encountered a man who presented a suspected fraudulent French passport and requested admission to the U.S. to travel to Canada. During a secondary examination, CBP officers confirmed that the passport was counterfeit. The man then admitted to a second identity, that of a Tunisian man. A biometrics examination was inconclusive and CBP detained the man to verify his true identity. During a subsequent interview Sunday morning, the man admitted to a third identity, that of a Moroccan man, and that he desired to claim asylum in the U.S. He is being held for further investigation and a limited review before an immigration judge on his asylum claims.
Privacy laws prohibit CBP from releasing their names as neither subject was criminally charged.
CBP also conducted two seizures Friday on behalf of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services (USFWS).
In the first, a traveler arrived from United Arab Emirates with two small cans of black sturgeon caviar. In the second case, a traveler arrived from Japan with 49 dried seahorses. Sturgeon caviar and seahorses are protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). In both cases, USFWS inspectors requested that CBP agriculture specialists seize the products.
CBP agriculture specialists also assessed $300 in civil penalties to each of three travelers for repeatedly failing to declare prohibited beef, pork, plums and corn, and for three live cactus plants infested with potentially harmful scale insects.
CBP agriculture specialists have extensive training and experience in the biological sciences and agricultural inspection. On a typical day, they inspect tens of thousands of international air passengers, and air and sea cargoes nationally being imported to the United States and seize 4,919 prohibited meat, plant materials or animal products, including 476 insect pests.
They work closely with USDA to protect our nation's agriculture resources against the introduction of foreign plant pests and animal diseases. Please visit our website to learn more about CBP agriculture specialists.