In a civil forfeiture case decided in August of last year involving the seizure of $132,245.00 in U.S. currency which had been transported on a flight from Canada but not reported on a customs declaration form, the 9th Circuit discussed the distinction between what are deemed “reporting offenses” and the act of bulk cash smuggling under 31 U.S.C. § 5332. See U.S. v. $132,245.00 in U.S. Currency, 764 F.3d 1055 (9th Cir. 2014).
The Court emphasized:
[a] violation of the bulk cash smuggling statute constitutes a far greater harm. In the sentencing context, we have observed that “by enacting the bulk cash smuggling statute, Congress was demonstrating its view that [a violation] of the bulk cash smuggling statute constitutes a significant harm.” Del Toro–Barboza, 673 F.3d at 1154 (internal quotation marks omitted). Congressional findings attached to § 5332 state that the “intentional transportation into or out of the United States of large amounts of currency or monetary instruments, in a manner designed to circumvent the mandatory reporting provisions ... is the equivalent of, and creates the same harm as, the smuggling of goods.” USA Patriot Act, Pub.L. No. 107–56, § 371(a)(4), 115 Stat. 272, 337 (emphasis added). Congress found that “the movement of large sums of cash is one of the most reliable warning signs of drug trafficking, terrorism, money laundering, racketeering, tax evasion and similar crimes.”Id. § 371(a)(3). It also found that enforcement of § 5332 effectively combats these various types of serious criminal activity. Id. § 371(a)(5).
Notably here, a drug dog also inspected the cash and alerted a positive response, meaning that the cash was contaminated with the odor of a narcotic substance. For more on this, see U.S. v. $42,500.00, 283 F.3d 977 (9th Cir. 2002).
DISCLAIMER: The views expressed herein are solely in a private capacity and do not, in any way, represent the views of any entity of the U.S. Government, Read our full Disclaimer for more information.
Counterpoint™ is a shared on-line journal covering current news and opinion analysis; specifically, developments relating to law¹ , philosophy, politics, and other social sciences.
Listen to the Counterpoint™ Podcast
¹ Materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. Contact a lawyer licensed in your jurisdiction for advice on a specific legal issue. Read our full Disclaimer for more information.