SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO—U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized more than $43,500 in unreported currency at the Luis Munoz Marin Airport last Wednesday, May 15, 2013, in two separate incidents.
While conducting outbound operations on a JetBlue flight destined to the Dominican Republic, a CBP K9 alerted to a passenger, who was then interviewed by CBP officers. During the interview, the passenger stated he was transporting $5,000. During his carry-on inspection various bundles of currency were found hidden in different locations. A total of $21,378 in currency was found hidden, including inside his socks. The currency was seized.
Departing on the same flight, a different passenger was informed about the currency reporting procedures in his native Spanish language, and he stated that he was transporting $2,000. Examination of the passenger's carry-on bag revealed additional bundles of U.S. currency, which were concealed inside his clothing. The passenger also failed to report around $9,000 concealed inside clothing on his checked luggage. The total amount of U.S. currency seized was $22,160.
"Transportation of currency is not illegal. However, if carrying more than $10,000 through our borders, the currency must be reported to CBP," said Juan Hurtado, San Juan Area Port Director. "CBP officers will gladly assist passengers in completing required forms or refer them to airline or cruise personnel."
There is no limit as to how much currency travelers can import or export; however, federal law requires travelers to report to CBP amounts exceeding $10,000 in U.S. dollars or equivalent foreign currency. If the amount is $10,000 or higher, they must formally report the currency to CBP. Failure to report may result in seizure of the currency and/or 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.
Travelers are encouraged to visit CBP's Travel Website to learn rules governing travel to and from the U.S.
While anti-terrorism is the primary mission of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the inspection process at the ports of entry associated with this mission results in impressive numbers of enforcement actions in all categories.