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Seizures of Cash at Jacksonville International Airport

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

Owned and operated by the Jacksonville Aviation Authority, the Jacksonville International Airport has one terminal with two concourses (A and C). Each concourse has 10 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.

Before the COVID-19 crisis began, the Jacksonville International Airport had more than 7,000,000 passengers each year. Although the number of passengers had decreased in 2020, the number of civil asset forfeiture cases has risen.

Most of these cash seizures at the airport involve task force officers or special agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), or the 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 seizure of cash, 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. In some cases, we can file the verified claim on the same day that the money was seized. Filing the verified claim early can speed up the resolution of the case 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, then contact an experienced civil asset forfeiture attorney at Sammis Law Firm. We can help you file a verified claim for court action which might speed up the resolution of the case by at least sixty (60) days.

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 set forth 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. When money is seized at the airport, our attorneys partner with attorneys throughout the country in these types of cases.

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


Problems with Filing a Petition for Remission or Mitigation

The federal laws and procedures that apply to the DEA or CBP forfeiture process can be found at 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. By demanding court action, the case is removed from the agency that seized the U.S. Currency.

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.

Instead of filing a petition for remission or mitigation, find out why it might be better to simply file a claim for court action so that you can force the seizing agency to refer the case to an Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA). Demanding court action is the ONLY way to contest the legality of the seizure.

Filing a claim triggers a 90-day deadline for the AUSA to either return the property or to 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, It may be filed online or in writing as required by 18 U.S.C. Section 983(a)(2)(D).

The claim must be sent to the DEA pursuant to the instructions shown in this notice. Claims must be submitted in writing to the address listing in the person 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.

If the money is searched by an agent with the Department of Homeland Security Investigations at the Jacksonville Int’l Airport, then 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
U.S. CBP / ATTN: FPFO
1624 E 7TH AVE, STE 101
TAMPA, FL, 33605

Failure to Report on the FinCEN Form 105 at the Jacksonville International Airport

If you take an international flight, you are required to 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 in excess of $10,000 into or out of the United States on an international flight.


This article was last updated on Tuesday, October 20, 2020.

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