SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized over $74,500 in unreported currency in three separate incidents last weekend.
In the first incident, after arrival at the Luis Munoz Marin International Airport from St. Thomas on October 2, a canine alerted to a passenger’s belongings. CBP officers interviewed him and his traveling companion. An inspection revealed over $15,000 of unreported currency, on their person and hidden within a suitcase. The currency was seized.
That same day, CBP officers were conducting outbound inspection on a flight destined to the Dominican Republic and interviewed three passengers after a canine alerted to their luggage. During inspection, $29,700 of unreported currency was discovered, which they later claimed someone paid them to transport to the Dominican Republic. The money was seized.
On another incident, a passenger arriving at the Luis Munoz Marin International Airport from Bogota, Colombia on October 4 was selected for CBP inspection. Currency reporting requirements were explained multiple times and the passenger gave conflicting amounts, finally claiming he was carrying $20,000. Currency verification revealed a total of $29,280 hidden in separate places on his belongings. The currency was seized.
There is no limit to how much currency travelers or persons can import or export; however federal law requires that it be reported to CBP if the amount equals or exceeds $10,000 in U.S. dollars or equivalent foreign currency.
The currency was seized under bulk cash smuggling laws. Failure to report may result in seizure of the currency and/or arrest.
“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. “Travelers who refuse to comply with federal currency reporting requirements run the risk of having their currency seized, and may potentially face criminal charges.”
In addition to currency interdiction, CBP routinely conducts inspection operations on arriving and departing international flights and intercepts narcotics, weapons, prohibited agriculture products and other illicit items.
Travelers are encouraged to visit CBP’s Travel section to learn rules governing travel to and from the U.S.
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.