The seizure of a $56,000 shipment of glass bongs and $23,000 in unreported currency on Monday offer a glimpse into the breadth of enforcement responsibilities that Customs and Border Protection officers carry out daily at Washington Dulles International Airport.
CBP officers seized the unreported currency while conducting enforcement operations on a Ghana-bound flight. A married couple reported to CBP officers that they possessed a combined $10,500.
While inspecting the couple’s carry-on bag, officers discovered an envelope concealed behind the carry-on bag’s zippered liner. Officers verified the couple’s combined currency at $23,641. Officers seized the currency for violating U.S. currency reporting laws and then released the couple with $641as a humanitarian relief.
CBP is not releasing the travelers’ names because none were criminally charged.
The shipment of 3,738 glass bongs initially arrived from China on October 3 manifested as “gravity pipes.” Officers detained the shipment and submitted documentation and photos to CBP’s international trade experts at the agency’s Consumer Products and Mass Merchandising Centers of Excellence and Expertise.
On November 17, CBP import specialists there reported back to officers that the shipment appraised at $56,033 and confirmed that the glass bongs violated U.S. laws on the importation of drug paraphernalia. Officers completed the seizure on Monday.
The glass bongs were destined to an address in Los Angeles County, California.
“The seizures of glass bongs and unreported currency may seem innocuous at first; however, they illustrate the resolve and commitment that Customs and Border Protection officers and specialists dte every day to enforce our nation’s laws, to enhance our nation’s economic vitality through lawful international trade and travel, and to help keep our citizens safe,” said Daniel Escobedo, CBP Area Port Director for the Area Port of Washington, D.C.
CBP officers remind travelers that there is no limit to how much currency or other monetary instruments they may bring to or take out of the United States; however, federal law [31 USC 5316] requires travelers to report all currency $10,000 or greater to a CBP officer.
CBP officers have observed that smuggled bulk currency may be the proceeds of illicit activity, such as proceeds from the sales of dangerous drugs or revenue from financial crimes and work to disrupt currency smuggling. CBP seized an average of about $386,000 every day last year in unreported or illicit currency along our nation’s borders.