U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) seized over $15,000 of undeclared cash from a Nigerian couple at the airport.
The Nigerians, according to reports, arrived from London but failed to declare the exact amount of money they had with them.
The couple had reported to CBP officers that they possessed $15,000. However, officers discovered an additional $5,850 in the woman’s purse.
The officers seized the $20,850 and then released $4,990 to the couple as humanitarian relief. The officers also released the couple to continue their visit, saving them from criminal prosecution.
The Nigerians were not identified in a press statement issued on Tuesday.
US Customs said 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 $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.
Customs and Border Protection officers are highly trained to uncover illicit activity and they are committed to enforcing the laws of the United States.
“Customs and Border Protection officers are highly trained to uncover illicit activity and they are committed to enforcing the laws of the United States,” said Casey Durst, CBP’s Field Operations Director in Baltimore.
“Unreported currency often can be proceeds from alleged illicit activity, or used to fund transnational criminal organisations and I commend our officers on this interception”.
CBP recently issued travel tips for international travel through BWI. Chiefly among those tips is for travellers to truthfully report all currency they possess to a CBP officer during inspection.
Consequences for violating U.S. currency reporting laws are severe; penalties may include seizure of most or all of the traveler’s currency, and potential criminal charges.
CBP uses a variety of techniques to intercept narcotics, unreported currency, weapons, counterfeit consumer goods, prohibited agriculture, and other illicit products, and to assure that global tourism remains safe and strong.
On a typical day, CBP seizes an average of about $290,000 in unreported or illicit currency along our nation’s borders.