US agents in San Juan seize cash from Dominican travelers
San Juan, PuertoRico.- U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized over US$74,500in unreported currency in three separate incidents last weekend.
In the firstincident, after arrival at the Luis Munoz Marin International Airport from St.Thomas on October 2, a canine alerted to a passenger’s belongings. CBP officersinterviewed him and his traveling companion. An inspection revealed over US$15,000 of unreported currency, on theirperson and hidden within a suitcase.
That same day, CBPofficers were conducting outbound inspection on a flight destined to theDominican Republic and interviewed three passengers after a canine alerted totheir luggage. During inspection, US$29,700of unreported currency was discovered, which they later claimed someone paidthem 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 wereexplained multiple times and the passenger gave conflicting amounts, finallyclaiming he was carrying US$20,000. Currency verification revealed a total of US$29,280 hidden in separateplaces on his belongings. The currency was seized.
There is no limit tohow much currency travelers or persons can import or export; however federallaw requires that it be reported to CBP if the amount equals or exceeds $10,000in U.S. dollars or equivalent foreign currency.
The currency wasseized under bulk cash smuggling laws. Failure to report may result in seizureof the currency and/or arrest.
“Transportation ofcurrency is not illegal. However, if carrying more than US$10,000 through ourborders, the currency must be reported to CBP,” said Juan Hurtado, San JuanArea Port Director. “Travelers who refuse to comply with federal currencyreporting requirements run the risk of having their currency seized, and maypotentially face criminal charges.”
In addition tocurrency interdiction, CBP routinely conducts inspection operations on arrivingand departing international flights and intercepts narcotics, weapons,prohibited agriculture products and other illicit items.
Travelers areencouraged to visit CBP’s Travel website to learn rules governing travel to andfrom the U.S. at http://www.cbp.gov/travel