US Customs agents seize money from Jamaican traveller

PHILADELPHIA, CMC – The Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency says it seized more than US$16,000 from a Jamaican citizen as he awaited his flight to the Caribbean island at the Philadelphia International Airport on Thursday.

It said that the unidentified man, who is also a  “US lawful permanent resident” had verbally indicated to authorities that he was in possession of only US$6,000.

“Officers explained federal currency reporting requirements, and the man verbally and in writing reported that he possessed US$8, 000. Officers discovered US$16,542 in the man’s carry-on bag. Officers seized the currency and released the traveller.

“It is perfectly legal to carry large sums of currency in or out of the United States. However, federal law requires that travellers who possess US$10,000 or more in currency or other monetary instruments must report it all to a CBP officer at the airport, seaport or land border crossing when entering or leaving the country,” the CBP said.

It said consequences for violating US currency reporting laws are severe; penalties may include seizure of most or all of the traveller’s currency, and potential criminal charges.

“When Customs and Border Protection officers encounter travellers who don’t properly declare or they conceal large amounts of currency when leaving the country, there can be links to transnational criminal organizations,” said Casey Durst, CBP’s Field Operations Director in Baltimore, Maryland.

On a typical day, CBP said it seizes an average of about US$290,000 in unreported or illicit currency “along our nation’s borders”.

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