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HSI Cash Seizures

Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) is the investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that combats criminal organizations exploiting the immigration system, as well as trade, travel, and trade. Investigations with HSI involve support staff, auditors, analysts, and special agents.

Many seizures of cash at airports are conducted by HSI agents. HSI agents also seize suspected illicit cash from travelers at train and bus stations throughout the United States. The basic theory behind the seizure requires that the HSI agent have “probable cause” that the money was involved in the drug trade or a money-laundering scheme, although many innocent people are caught up in the process.

After a cash seizure by an HSI agent, the matter is sent to a local Fines, Penalties and Forfeitures Officer with United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

The best way to get the seized money back is to hire an attorney to help you bypass the pointless CBP administrative proceedings for mitigation and remission. Instead, an attorney can help you challenge the legality of the seizure by making a claim that demands court action.

The verified claim and demand for court action will trigger a 90 day deadline for an Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) in the civil asset forfeiture division to investigate the case and either return the money or file a complaint in federal court.

Attorney for HSI Seizures and Forfeitures in Tampa, FL

If your U.S. currency or other property was seized by a special agent with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), then contact an experienced federal forfeiture attorney in Tampa, FL, at Sammis Law Firm.

We are particularly experienced with the seizure of U.S. currency (cash or money) by an HSI agent taken at the airport before a domestic or international flight at the airport, including cash seizures at the Tampa International Airport.

Over the years, we have helps clients and co-counseled with other attorneys across the county in airport seizure cases involving HSI and CBP. Let us put our experience to work for you.

Call 813-250-0500.

Examples of HSI Investigations

Special Agents with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) have the authority to investigate and enforce several federal statutes involving criminal activity that might cross borders including:

Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) was created to combat criminal threats facing the United States through the following types of actions:

  • the seizures of illicit drugs and the money used on intended to be used in the drug trade;
  • criminal prosecutions in federal court;
  • the issuance of search warrants;
  • the seizures of good and merchandise for intellectual property rights violations; and
  • the seizure of weapons and ammunition.

Additional Resources

HSI Asset Forfeiture Branch – Visit the website of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to learn more about how Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) seizes money or other property for forfeiture. The seizures by Special Agents with Homeland Security Investigations often involve allegations of smuggling narcotics, weapons, or other contraband or transporting bulk cash for financial crimes or money laundering. The asset forfeiture program uses HSI’s efforts to identify this property that represents the proceeds of crime or is being used to facilitate federal violations under the investigative jurisdiction of HSI. The forfeiture of assets is used by Special Agents with ICE and HCI as a sanction in criminal, civil, and administrative investigative activities.


This article was last updated on Thursday, May 21, 2020.

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