Cash Seizures at Jacksonville International Airport

What happens if you travel on a domestic or international flight at the Jacksonville International Airport and federal agents seize all of your cash? Believe it or not, cash seizures at the airport are common.

Update: Click here to read more about a recent forfeiture case result involving DEA seizing $20,000 from our client at the Jacksonville International Airport on 2/6/24. Within two days of the seizure, we filed a preservation letter demanding all survillance video of initial detention, interrogation, search and seizure. We demanded the survilleance video because we believed the initial detention was illegal and the task force officers had no probable cause to seize our client’s money for forfeiture. Possibly to avoid releasing the surveillance video, DEA agreed to release the funds as a “quick release” found in 28 CFR 8.7. After some negotiation with the Senior Attorney in DEA’s Asset Forfeiture Section, DEA released the money out of the sealed evidence bag on 3/1/24. The client was NOT required to sign any paperwork, including the one-sided “hold harmless” agreement prepared by DEA.

After such a seizure, the attorneys at the Sammis Law Firm preserve any surveillance video from the airport showing the entire detention, interrogation, search, and seizure. The airport only retains that video for 30 days, so you must preserve the video during that retention period.

Most of these cash seizures at the airport involve task force officers or special agents with:

  • Jacksonville Aviation Authority Police Department;
  • Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA);
  • Customs and Border Protection (CBP); or
  • Department of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

After the money is taken, the seizing agent might hand you a receipt that lists an “undisclosed amount of U.S. currency.” After the cash seizure, the DEA or CBP has 60 days to send you a letter that acts as a personal “notice of forfeiture” explaining your rights. The legal notice that the property was seized must also be published online.

But you do NOT have to wait for the “notice of seizure” to arrive in the mail before you take action.

An experienced attorney for civil asset forfeiture cases can help you file a verified claim immediately after the seizure. We can file the verified claim on the same day the money was seized. Filing the verified claim early can speed up the case resolution by at least 60 days.

Attorney for Currency Seizures at the Airport in Jacksonville, FL

If your cash was seized from the airport in Jacksonville, FL, contact an experienced civil asset forfeiture attorney at Sammis Law Firm. We can help you file a verified claim for court action.

Filing a verified claim is the ONLY way to contest the legality of the seizure. The verified claim must be filed within thirty (30) days after the date of the final publication of the “notice of seizure,” unless you received a written notice via personal letter, in which case the deadline outlined in the letter will apply.

An attorney can help you file a verified claim that describes the seized property and states your ownership or other interest in the property. The verified claim must be made under oath and subject to the penalty of perjury and meet the requirements of an unsworn statement under penalty of perjury as described in 18 U.S.C. Section 983(a)(2)(C) and 28 U.S.C. Section 1746.

We also represent clients accused of failing to file a report of international transportation of currency or monetary instruments (called the “FinCEN Form 105) on international flights into or out of the airport in Jacksonville, FL.

Our civil asset forfeiture attorneys can also help you preserve and obtain a copy of any surveillance video from the Revenue Compliance Specialist with the Jacksonville Aviation Authority.

No matter your circumstances, we can help. Call 813-250-0500.

Act Quickly to Secure the Airport’s Surveillance Video

When money is seized without a warrant, the seizure might be deemed unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution.

Although the agents might claim you agreed to speak to them and readily consented to a search of your luggage, many travelers believe the detention, search, and seizure were coerced.

Obtaining the airport’s surveillance video is a great way to show what happened. A preservation letter and public record request should be sent to the Department of Aviation Security or Internal Auditor at the Jacksonville Aviation Authority (JAA).

The Internal Auditor at JAA might tell you that the video reveals the capabilities – and as a corollary, the vulnerabilities – of JAA’s security and surveillance system. As a result, JAA will claim that the plain language of § 119.071(3)(a), Florida Statutes, considers it confidential and exempt from public inspection. See Cent. Fla. Reg’l Transp. Auth. v. Post-Newsweek Stations, Orlando, Inc., 157 So. 3d 401, 405 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2015) (footage from video surveillance security system cameras on city buses considered confidential and exempt from public disclosure).

Although JAA will preserve the video, they will only release it to you with a court order that can be requested on an emergency basis from a state or federal judge in Jacksonville if the appropriate motion is filed.

Act quickly. The last time we asked, the JAA Internal Auditor told us that the normal retention policy for video is 30 days from the date and time of the recording.

Problems with Filing a Petition for Remission or Mitigation

The federal laws and procedures that apply to the DEA or CBP forfeiture process are 19 U.S.C. Sections 1602 -1619, 18 U.S.C. Section 983, and 28 C.F.R. Parts 8 and 9. The rules explain both administrative actions and how to take court action.

Filing a claim for court action is the ONLY way to contest the legality of the seizure.

If you opt for administrative proceedings by filing a “Petition for Remission or Mitigation,” then you are UNABLE to contest the legality of the seizure in court. The administrative proceedings are far less effective than just demanding court action.

The agency that seized the money must then send the case to an Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) in the appropriate jurisdiction who can determine whether:

  • the detention was legal from the inception;
  • the detention became unreasonably prolonged;
  • the traveler was illegally interrogated without the benefit of receiving Miranda warnings;
  • the warrantless search of the carry-on or checked baggage was illegal because it violated the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution;
  • no probable cause supported the seizure; or
  • the money came from a legitimate source and was intended for a legitimate purpose.

Filing a claim for judicial action triggers a 90-day deadline for the AUSA to either agree to return the property or file a “complaint for forfeiture” in the U.S. District Court.

Filing the Verified Claim for Court Action

The verified claim to contest the seizure of money at the Jacksonville International Airport need not be made in any particular form, although it must be filed writing as required by 18 U.S.C. Section 983(a)(2)(D).

The claim must be sent to the DEA under the instructions shown in this notice. Claims must be submitted in writing to the address listed in the personal notice or published online, which might include:

Drug Enforcement Administration
Forfeiture Counsel
Asset Forfeiture Section
8701 Morrissette Drive
Springfield, VA 22152

In addition to U.S. Currency being seized at the Jacksonville International Airport, other property seized might include a Western Union Money Order, jewelry, or precious metals.

Suppose the money is seized by an agent with the Department of Homeland Security Investigations at the Jacksonville International Airport. In that case, any administrative forfeiture proceeding is handled by Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

The notice must be sent to the appropriate field office in Tampa, FL:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Attention: Fines, Penalties and Forfeitures Officer
1624 E 7TH AVE, STE 101
TAMPA, FL, 33605

Failure to Report on the FinCEN Form 105 in Jacksonville, FL

If you take an international flight, you must file a report of international transportation of currency or monetary instruments. The form is called a FinCEN Form 105.

FinCEN Firm 105 is required for anyone who physically transports, mails, or ships currency or monetary instruments of $10,000 or more into or out of the United States on an international flight.

Read more about why money is seized at the airport.

The Jacksonville International Airport is owned and operated by the Jacksonville Aviation Authority. The airport has one terminal with two concourses (A and C). Each concourse has ten gates. The airport has direct public transit service to Jacksonville Transportation Authority’s bus network. From the CT3 “AirJTA” bus, the airport is connected to downtown Jacksonville with connections to the Greyhound Bus Lines.

Additional Resources

Jacksonville Aviation Authority Police Department – The JAAPD is a law enforcement agency providing services 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Officers with JAAPD also serve three other properties, including Jacksonville Executive Airport (JAXEX), Herlong Recreational Airport, and Cecil Airport. The officers work with other federal, state, and local agencies, including the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. JAAPD works with local, state, and federal agencies, including the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office (JSO), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Custom and Border Protection (CBP), Transportation Security Administration (TSA), FBI, and DEA.

This article was last updated on Friday, March 1, 2024.