Cash Seizure by TIAPD

Officers with the Tampa International Airport Police Department (TIAPD) seize illicit or suspicious U.S. Currency from passengers. After the money is seized, the passenger is given a receipt and notice of the seizure for forfeiture under state law.

For larger amounts of cash, agents with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) or U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) seize the money and issue a receipt. Federal law requires the federal agency to mail a personal notice of seizure form within 60 days, although an attorney can help you file a verified claim the next day after the money is taken to speed up the process.

Either way, you should immediately retain an attorney if your money is seized at the Tampa International Airport. An attorney can begin the fight to get the money back immediately.

Find out why our attorneys take all the steps necessary to obtain the surveillance video of the incident, file a claim for the immediate return of the property, and request an adversarial preliminary hearing.

Attorney for Seizures of Money by Airport Police in Tampa, FL

The attorneys at Sammis Law Firm fight seizures of cash at the airport. Many of these cases are referred to us by other attorneys who want to co-counsel with us to resolve the case. In other cases, our clients contact us directly, sometimes while they are still at the airport.

We immediately obtain a court order for any video surveillance video inside the airport showing how the initial detention occurred. The attorneys with the Airport Authority will often fight aggressively to avoid releasing the surveillance video, but they are required to release it after the court order is obtained.

We also secure a court order for any surveillance video of what occurred when the person was taken to the Tampa International Airport Police Department station for questioning.

Florida’s Contraband Forfeiture Act is filled with traps, especially when the seizure of money occurs at the airport. Experience matters in these cases and for the adversarial preliminary hearings.

Contact us by calling 813-250-0500.

How to Get Back Money Seized at the Tampa International Airport

How can an attorney help you get money seized at the airport in Tampa, FL, back quickly? Your attorney can file the demand for an adversarial preliminary hearing (APH). All of the requirements must be met including sending the request in writing, by Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested, to the address listing in the notice.

The most recently issued forms for the notice of seizure require the request for an adversarial preliminary hearing to be sent to:

Scott Knight
Legal Advisor for the Tampa International Airport Police Department (TIAPD)
P.O. Box 22287
Tampa, FL, 33622,
813-870-8771 or 813-870-8670

You must provide a copy of the TIAPD Notice of Seizure and your address and contact information with the demand. The legal advisor with the TIAPD will notify you of the time, date, and place of the adversarial preliminary hearing.

Although the post-seizure adversarial hearing is not mandatory, there is no good reason not to request the hearing since it is the best way to fight for the return of your property.

TIAPD’s Request for Forfeiture PL-77 Form

When an officer with the Tampa International Airport Police Department seizes property for forfeiture, the officer must complete a “request for forfeiture” PL-77 form. The form must be submitted to the TIAPD Legal Advisor’s Office upon seizure of property.

The form lists the date of seizure, case number, type of property seized (money, vehicle, weapon, jewelry, or other), description of property, name and address of the person in possession of the property at the time of seizure, owner’s name and address (if different), lien holder’s name and address (if any), charges made or pending, additional information (not on offense report but relevant to probable cause for forfeiture), and the name of the seizing officer.

The request for forfeiture form used by the Tampa International Airport Police Department has an “estimated costs” section which lists the date the form was received by legal advisor’s office recommendation for initiating forfeiture proceedings, returning the property to the owner, or settlement. The form also indicates whether the TIAPD’s Senior Director of Finance and Director of Public Safety and Security either approved or disapproved the recommendation.

TIAPD’s request for forfeiture form also has a section for the final disposition that lists the date of the final disposition and whether the property seized at the Tampa International Airport was awarded to the law enforcement trust fund.

How Much Money Gets Seized at the Tampa Airport?

In 2019, TIAPD officers with the special investigations unit seized $583,522.00 in suspicious currency.

With TIAPD Special Investigations Unit (SIU) members assigned to drug interdiction K9, approximately 30 interdiction initiatives take place per month at the Tampa International Airport.

TIAPD Tactical Response Unit on Seizures of U.S. Currency

The Tactical Response Unit (TRU) of the Tampa International Airport was implemented in October of 2018. In addition to other duties, the TRU unit at the airport is responsible for K9 Interdiction. The eight (8) members consist of four team members, the team leader, the team commander, the EDIC K9, and the Narcotics K9.

During the last quarter of 2018, TIAPD’s unit for tactical response participated in 58 EDIC deployments and 100 drug interdiction deployments resulting in the seizure of controlled substances and more than $100,000 in U.S. currency.

Expenditure of State Forfeiture Funds at Tampa International Airport

The requirements for authorization to expend state forfeiture funds are found in the U.S. Department of Treasury Guide to Equitable Sharing for Foreign Countries and Federal, State, and Local Law Enforcement Agencies (Guide).

Furthermore, State Forfeiture Funds shared with local law enforcement agencies must be expended for law enforcement purposes. The Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act (FCFA) authorizes law enforcement agencies to use the proceeds collected under the FCFA for authorized law enforcement purposes as well.

In accordance with those provisions, at the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority’s Regular Board Meeting held on Thursday, August 1, 2019, at 9:02 a.m., the board acted on a motion to authorize the expenditure of property seized for forfeiture.

Under S440.14 of the Authority Standard Procedure, expenditures from State Forfeiture Funds can only be made after approval from Legal Affairs and the Authority Board. For that reason, Legal Affairs reviewed the request and agreed to the proposed expenditures.

The motion authorized the expenditure of State Forfeiture Funds to be used by the Tampa International Airport Police Department to attend a training program to prepare department personnel for “senior leadership positions.”

This article was last updated on Friday, August 6, 2021.