Seizures of Gold in Florida

The number of seizures involving gold coins, gold bullion, and other precious metals has increased dramatically over the past five (5) years. In fact, a recent statement from U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) discussed the Miami Herald’s expose on how drug dealers and other criminals are increasingly using Latin American gold to launder their dirty money.

Instead of carrying large sums of U.S. currency that is easy to detect, more seizures are occurring when a traveler has gold jewelry, gold coins or bars, or other precious metals. Using precious metals makes it nearly impossible to trace the source of the assets.

The problem is that federal agents often seize gold or other precious metals without having sufficient information to suspect drug dealing or money laundering. Innocent people, honest investors, and savers are caught up in the wide net being cast.

Sometimes innocent people are subjected to a process in which federal agents seize their property for forfeiture.  The property seized might include rings, necklaces, bracelets, or other jewelry. The property might be removed from a vehicle, purse, luggage, or the person’s pockets.

In Florida, such seizures are becoming more common at airports for both domestic or international flights. Gold might also be seized during a roadside traffic investigation, or at a bus station or train stationn.

Attorney for Seizures of Gold for Forfeiture

If your cash or other property was seized by federal agents, then contact an experienced civil asset forfeiture attorney at Sammis Law Firm. These cases involve an anti-money laundering law (known as the Bank Secrecy Act). Although the Bank Secrecy Act was intended to prevent money laundering, it often ensnares innocent people who happen to be carrying cash, jewelry, precious metals, or other property.

Contact us to find out how the Bank Secrecy Act requires passengers at the airport traveling on international flights to declare possessing more than $10,000 in cash or currency to customs officials using a FinCEN 105 form.

If the passenger files to disclose the precise amount of currency being carried on an international flight, the federal authorities can then seize the money. In addition to currency seizures, federal agents are focusing on seizing gold and other precious metals.

If your property was seized for forfeiture by federal agents with Customs and Border Patrol or other agencies, contact an experienced federal forfeiture attorney in Tampa, FL, at Sammis Law Firm.

Call 813-250-0500.

Statement on Gold Used for Drug Trafficking

While complaining that the gold is ending up in the U.S. markets, Senator Marco Rubio’s issued the following statement on January 16, 2018:

“Trade in gold from Latin America, which is largely destined for U.S. consumers, is becoming the preferred way for drug cartels, terrorists and bad regimes to launder their dirty money.

The U.S. Department of Justice’s prosecution of illicit gold traders Juan Granda, Samer Barrage and Renato Rodriguez, who pleaded guilty to money laundering involving dirty Latin American gold, is the tip of the iceberg, and should put all bad actors on notice.

I will continue to follow this issue closely, and urge the Executive Branch to investigate the practices and circumstances leading to the mining and transportation of these precious metals for the purposes of money laundering.”

Additional Resources

31 CFR Part 406 – Seizure and Forfeiture of Gold – Find out more about seizure and forfeiture of gold for violation of the Gold Reserve Act of 1934 and Gold Regulations. Under section 406.1, read more about why Secret Service officers are authorized to make seizures of gold. Find out more about the procedures for maintaining custody of seized gold valued at more than or less than $2,500, special rules for the forfeiture of gold, and the duties of customs officers when seizing gold.

This article was last updated on Friday, April 30, 2021.