US customs seize unreported currency and marijuana from Jamaica-bound travellersMonday, September 27, 2021
BALTIMORE, United States — The United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency is reporting that over the past five weeks, it has made several seizures of unreported currency and marijuana from travellers, including persons travelling to and from Montego Bay in St James.
CBP said that the seizures took place at Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport.
CBP officers seized a "combined US$80,388 in unreported currency from five travellers and assessed a combined US$4,000 in Zero Tolerance penalties to eight travellers for marijuana possession", a statement from the agency said last week.
Further, officers seized marijuana from two additional couples but did not assess civil penalties in those cases.
"Of the 15 marijuana and currency seizures from August 16 through Wednesday, [September 22], 13 involved passengers on flights destined to or that arrived from Montego Bay, Jamaica," CBP stated.
"The other two seizures involved passengers who arrived on flights from Cancun, Mexico and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic," it added.
CBP said it is not releasing the names of any of the travellers because they were not criminally charged.
According to the agency, even though some states have decriminalised marijuana, possession remains a violation of federal law and violators may face hefty civil penalties.
"It's important that travellers must understand that marijuana possession remains a federal offence and that travellers must clear a Customs and Border Protection inspection station upon arriving and departing the United States, so it's probably a very wise decision for them to leave their marijuana at home or back on vacation,” said Adam Rottman, CBP's Area Port Director for the Area Port of Baltimore.
“Unfortunately, that message isn't getting through," he declared.
The agency noted that under US federal law [31 U.S.C. 5316], it "requires travellers to truthfully report all currency that they possess to a CBP officer, and that they complete a US Treasury Department form (FINCEN 105) for all currency and other monetary instruments that exceed US$10,000".
Added Rottman: "We want travellers to be assured that they may carry as much currency as they wish into and out of the United States, and Customs and Border Protection officers will help them to complete the necessary Treasury form if required, but travellers should also know any actions less than truthful could result in them missing their departure flight."
CBP seized an average of approximately US$386,000 in unreported currency and 3,677 pounds of illicit narcotics every day last year along US borders, the statement indicated.
"Despite repeated reminders, some travellers continue to gamble that Customs and Border Protection officers won't find their marijuana or unreported currency, and that's a bad bet," Rottman charged.
"We would hope that these costly experiences educate all travellers to the importance of complying with our nation's laws," he said.