CHICAGO (CBS) – U.S. Customs agents have seized more than $125,000 in cash from a family that was traveling from O’Hare International Airport to Pakistan.
Along with other passengers, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers conducting enforcement operations on Tuesday at O’Hare selected a family traveling to Pakistan aboard Etihad Airlines for a currency verification examination, officials said.
The officers explained federal currency reporting requirements and the husband of the family declared they were leaving the country with only $17,000 in cash, customs officials said in a news release. But a full baggage examination revealed more than $35,000 in his carry-on bag.The cash was found hidden in several locations, including $5,200 in the pages of a magazine, $19,300 concealed behind pictures in a photo album and $4,500 hidden inside a pair of pants.
A full search resulted in the seizure of $125,849 from the family. Cash was found in all of the family’s carry-on bags, plus $7,800 in their checked baggage.“Everywhere the officers looked they kept discovering more concealed currency,” said Janice Adams, CBP Acting Director of Field Operations in Chicago. “Money was hidden in every conceivable location. This is an outstanding seizure by our CBP officers working outbound operations at Chicago O’Hare.”
Although it is not a crime to carry more than $10,000 in cash, it is a federal offense not to declare cash or other money totaling $10,000 or more to a customs agent upon entering or exiting the United States.
Failure to declare such amounts of money could result in seizure of the currency and possibly arrest.
An individual is allowed to petition for the return of currency seized by customs agents, but the person must prove that the source and intended use of the currency was legitimate.