Seizures at the Southwest Florida International Airport

The Southwest Florida International Airport is located in the South Fort Myers region of unincorporated Lee County, Florida. The address of the airport is 11000 Terminal Access Rd, Fort Myers, FL 33913.

The airport in Fort Myers, FL, serves the Southwest Florida region of Florida which includes the Punta Gorda, Naples-Marco Island, Cape Coral-Fort Myers, and surrounding areas. Last year, the airport served more than 10 million passengers.

The Southwest Florida International Airport is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection port of entry. Seizures of currency at the airport are typically handled by agents with Homeland Security Investigations.

If you go through the screening process at the airport and TSA screeners find U.S. Currency in your carry on baggage or checked luggage, the TSA screeners might become suspicious.

Under those circumstances, the TSA screeners might call in local law enforcement officers or federal agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), or U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), to seize the money.

The law enforcement officer who seized the money is supposed to issue you a receipt. After the money is seized, the agents will trigger the procedures necessary to forfeit the funds.

Immediately after the seizure, you should challenge the seizure and attempt to use civil asset forfeiture to keep your case. The federal agents hope you take no action or choose an administrative forfeiture. The better course of action is challenging the taking by hiring an experienced attorney to fight the action by filing a verified claim to demand court action in a judicial forfeiture action.

Attorneys for Forfeitures of Cash at the Airport in Fort Myers, FL

If federal law enforcement officers took your U.S. Currency (cash or money) at the Southwest Florida International Airport in the Fort Myers, FL, then contact an attorney experienced with seizures of U.S. currency for forfeiture at Florida airports.

The attorneys at the Sammis Law Firm focus on bulk cash seizure at all of the regional and international airports in Florida. We are familiar with the procedures used by federal agents with the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) at the airport in Ft. Myers.

We can help you file a claim, make the CAFRA election, file a complaint, and secure the return of your money with attorneys in the United States Attorney’s Office.

Our attorneys never agree to arbitrate cases using the administrative forfeiture proceeding because most of those requests are denied with a form letter. Instead, the fight the cases aggressively which is the best way to get the money back quickly.

Call 813-250-0500.

The Benefits of Filing a Claim for Court Action

Hiring an attorney to file the claim for court action immediately after the forfeiture triggers a 90 day period in which the U.S. Attorney’s Office has to either:

  • return the money to you; or
  • file a complaint in the appropriate U.S. District Court.

Going along with an administrative forfeiture takes much longer and is a bad idea because the administrative process is handled in-house by the same agency that took the money. These challenges do not take place in a courtroom. No judge will see the case.

In an administrative hearing, you get none of the protections contained in the rules of evidence or the rules of procedure that normally accompany a judicial action in court. The federal agents that took the money prefer the administrative forfeiture challenges for all of these reasons.

On the other hand, judicial forfeiture requires the U.S. Attorney’s Office to either file a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court within 90 days of when the claim was first received. For the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the only other way around the litigation is to simply return the money.

If the U.S. Attorney’s Office fails to act within the 90-day deadline or files a complaint which is decided in your favor in court, then you are also entitled to get the money back with interest, costs, and attorney fees.

This article was last updated on Tuesday, March 10, 2020.