Money Seized at the Airport in Miami, FL

Agents with Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) seize currency from travelers before domestic flights and international flights.

When it comes to money being seized at the airport, Miami tops the list. American and foreign travelers have a difficult time trying to get any of their money back without an attorney.

After your money is seized for civil asset forfeiture, act quickly. An attorney can help you preserve any surveillance video of your detention and file a verified claim that acts as an immediate DEMAND for court action (sometimes called “early judicial intervention”).

The administrative procedures for mitigation, remission, or an “offer in compromise” rarely result in all of the money being returned. In fact, the forfeiture counsel for the agency often sends out a form letter denying any relief at all. By the time you get the form letter, it might be too late to request court action.

For this reason, the federal government is extremely successful in civil asset forfeiture actions. To level the playing field, you need an experienced civil asset forfeiture attorney protecting your rights.

We have dealt with the Senior Attorney for the Office of the Associate Chief Counsel (Miami) at U.S. Customs and Border Protection. We are also experienced in negotiating with the Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) in the Civil Asset Forfeiture United of the Miami Division of the Southern District of Florida.

Attorneys for Civil Asset Forfeiture at the Airport in Miami, FL

We can preserve the surveillance video from the airport (to show the encounter was nonconsensual), and immediately file a verified claim for court action (early judicial intervention).

If your cash was seized at the Miami International Airport by federal agents with the Department of Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) or U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CPB), then contact an experienced attorney who can help you get the money back.

Attorney Leslie Sammis at Sammis Law Firm helps travelers at airports throughout Florida after their money is seized for forfeiture.

After the money is taken we immediately preserve a copy of any surveillance video showing your detention in the airport and the path the money took when in the federal agent’s possession until it is taken out of the airport.

We then file a claim to demand court action (sometimes called early judicial intervention) and bypass the administrative process completely.

After filing the claim, we reach out to the Senior Attorney for the Office of the Associate Chief Counsel (Miami) at U.S. Customs and Border Protection. We are also experienced in working with an attorney from the civil asset forfeiture unit at the U.S. Attorney’s Office who might be assigned to the case.

During those negotiations, we sometimes release information showing why the cash comes from a legitimate source of income, why procedural requirements were not followed, and why the way the money was seized was unlawful from its inception.

The procedural requirements require a notice to be sent within 60 days and a complaint to be filed in federal court within 90 days of a valid claim being filed. If the government misses a deadline, then the money must be returned. In some cases, missing a deadline might also result in the government being required to pay interest and attorney fees.

The sooner you hire an attorney to gather the evidence and file the claim, the sooner your property might be returned.

Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation. Call us to find out more about how our attorneys fight seizures for forfeitures at the airport.

Call 813-250-0500.

Information about the Miami International Airport

The Miami International Airport (MIA) has more than 1,000 flights each day, including both domestic and international flights. Located in an unincorporated area in Miami-Dade County, the airport is only 8 miles to the northwest of Downtown Miami.

As the third busiest airport in the United States, more than 45 million passengers traveled through the Miami International Airport (MIA) each year. The Miami International Airport is the third-largest hub for American Airlines and serves as the primary gateway to Latin America.

Taskforce officers and special agents with the drug enforcement administration (DEA) often operate in the airport operation area at the Miami International Airport. The officers and agents focus on baggage for flights and deploy narcotics detention dogs on separate lines of baggage.

The alert of a controlled substance detention canine and the reading of that alert by the officer or agent might be used to argue that probable cause existed to seize the bags or obtain a search warrant.

Seizures by Customs of Undeclared Currency for International Flights

If you brought more than $10,000 in cash to the airport before an international flight, you are required to declare the money on a customs form known as the FinCEN Form 105. The airport does not post a notice explaining that rule or the consequences for a violation of the paperwork.

As a result, unsuspecting travelers are often targeted for seizures by agents with the Department of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

The agents at Miami International Airport are particularly good at seizing money before international flights. In fact, the Miami International Airport (MIA) often ranks as one of the top five airports in the United States for federal seizures of undeclared U.S. Currency from travelers.

According to a report from the Institut for Justice, between 2000 and 2016, more than Ninety-One Million Dollars ($91,000,000) was seized by federal law enforcement agencies for civil asset forfeiture at the Miami International Airport.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection claims that “CBP officers often grant travelers multiple opportunities to properly declare currency when entering or exiting the country.” But when CBP officials find a large amount of U.S. Currency, they are extremely motivated to seize it.

The reason the law allows such seizures is based on a theory that undeclared currency is more likely to be connected to narcotics trafficking, bulk cash smuggling, or money laundering. Yet, innocent travelers often get caught up in the process.

If your money was taken or seized at the airport, the agent should have provided you with a receipt. At the Miami International Airport, federal agents with the DEA, HSI, or CBP are often involved in the seizure for forfeiture action.

You don’t have to wait for a letter with the FP&F case number to come in the mail. The letter provides instructions on how to contest the seizure by filing a claim for court action (or the less effective methods of filing a petition for mitigation or remission which typically don’t work), but the process is extremely complicated.

If you retain us, we can help you file a verified claim. After the claim is received by CBP, we often get a phone call from a Senior Attorney with the Office of the Associate Chief Counsel (Miami) for U.S. Customs and Border Protection. If the Senior Attorney will not agree to quickly return 100% of the money seized, then the case is forwarded to an Assistant United States Attorney.

We then talk with the AUSA about all of the reasons to return the money without any further delay. The AUSA often targets the low-hanging fruit, and a good attorney might convenience them that filing a claim isn’t worth the fight.

Finding an experienced attorney is the best way to assert your rights. The attorneys at Sammis Law Firm represents clients accused of failing to declare more than $10,000 in money to a custom’s agent in the FinCEN Form 105.

Contact us to find out more about currency reporting requirements at the airport in Miami, FL. Call 813-250-0500.

Additional Information

Seizures and Forfeitures at Miami International Airport by CBP – Find information on contact information for the field offices of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at the international airport in Miami. The mail CBP office is in Concourse D – North Terminal 2nd Floor at the Miami International Airport located at 4200 NW 21st Street, Miami, FL 33122. The phone number for CBP’s Fines, Penalties & Forfeitures is (305) 869-2870. The Fines, Penalties & Forfeitures handles bulk cash smuggling seizures and administrative forfeiture actions.

This article was last updated on Friday, October 1, 2021.