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Cash Seizure at the Airport

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our lives have changed drastically, and every industry has been impacted including airlines. Now, less people are taking trips or flying for business in fear of spreading the virus. While the number of flights has decreased, what hasn’t been decreasing is the number of cash seizures occurring at the airport. In fact, it seems authorities are even more keen on seizing cash or assets at the airport than ever before.

Records obtained from the Department of Homeland Security Freedom of Information Act library illustrate that approximately 30,000 cash seizures were executed during the years 2000 to 2016. Although the numbers for 2016-2021 haven’t been released yet, news reports and stories from those who had their cash seized have pervaded the media and internet.

The issue has become so pervasive that in 2020 the Institute of Justice filed a federal class action lawsuit against the TSA, DEA, and the government over “unlawful and constitutional” actions when conducing cash seizures in major airports. In addition, U.S Representative Tim Walberg (MI) introduced the Fifth Amendment Integrity Restoration Act (FAIR Act) to battle these unfair seizures. The act is currently stalled in the House of U.S. Representatives, but has garnered about 19 coauthors who all agree with the bill’s proposal.

If you’ve had your cash seized at Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) or any other airport in Texas, call Horak Law. Matthew Horak has extensive experience helping defendants get their money and/or assets back and can do the same for you.

Defense Attorney for Cash Seizures at George Bush Airport | Houston, TX

Did the authorities at the airport seize your cash and/or assets without a justifiable reason? If so, it’s within your best interest to get in contact with Horak Law. Matthew Horak is a skilled defense lawyer and has represented clients who have had their cash seized at various airports including Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH), William P. Hobby Airport (HOU), amongst others. Call today to learn your various legal options and get started on a verified claim and demand court action.

Call Horak Law to set up your first consultation with Matthew Horak at (713) 225-8000. Your first case analysis is absolutely free, and from there Attorney Horak can best advise you on what to do next. Horak Law assists clients in Harris County, but also Montgomery County, Brazoria County, Galveston County, Fort Bend County, Liberty County, and Waller County.

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Cash Seizures at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH)

When traveling you’re probably not expecting airport security to take your belongings unless you’ve brought some sort of weapon or other contraband. However, both state and federal law enforcement agents can seize any U.S. currency if they have reasonable suspicion it’s involved in a drug scheme or money laundering crime. The money is usually discovered by Homeland Security Investigators (HSI) who are trained to execute “consensual encounters,” which is where they will ask random passengers to undergo a search and seizure.

The agents will typically begin an encounter by asking the passenger for their boarding pass and I.D. After this step is complete, they will then question the traveler about their motives for flying and whether they have a large amount of cash on them. Most traveler answers honestly during these interrogations despite the fact they are not legally obligated to. Agents may also use persuasive techniques to get answers from travelers as well.

From there, the agents will search the person’s belongings to detect any large amount of cash or illegal contraband. In some cases, they may retrieve your check in luggage before it’s put on the plane. If agents discover contraband or a large amount of cash that seems suspicious, they will seize the cash/items and give the traveler a receipt. They will likely tell the traveler they must wait 60 days to receive a notice of seizure, but this isn’t always the case. Airline passengers can always speed up the process with the help of an experienced asset forfeiture attorney in Texas.

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Texas Airports Where Asset Seizures Occur

Agents can execute a cash seizure at any public airport according to federal and state law. Some airports where your cash and/or assets may be seized include:

  • George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH or Houston Intercontinental Airport)
  • Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW Airport)
  • Dallas Love Field (DAL)
  • Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS)
  • William P. Hobby Airport (HOU)
  • San Antonio International Airport (SAT)
  • El Paso International Airport

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Large Amount of Cash on International Flights

You are legally allowed as a United States citizen to transport any amount of currency including monetary instruments in and out of the nation. Although this is true, it’s important to understand there are regulations for if you are taking more than $10,000 in and out of the country. You must declare the amount you’re carrying before travel by filing a Report of International Transportation of Currency or Monetary Instruments, also known as the FinCEN Form 105.

Most travelers are unaware of the $10,000 or more rule and never fill out a FinCEN Form 105. They instead learn of the regulation at the airport after their currency has already been seized. An experienced civil asset forfeiture lawyer can demand your money to be returned by filing a claim of court action to bypass any administrative proceeding for remission or mitigation.

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Additional Resources

Asset Forfeiture Abuse | ACLU – Visit the official website for the American Civil Liberties Union to learn more about how police have abused asset forfeiture laws in the past and present. Access the site to review press releases, read updates on news related to asset forfeiture, and various other information and resources regarding civil forfeiture abuse.

Houston Custom Border Protection Office– Visit the official website for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection to find information about their Houston location and office. Access the site to learn the office address, phone number, mailing address, and other information.

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Cash Seizure at the Airport Attorney, Houston Airport | Civil Forfeiture Laws

If you or someone you know has had their cash seized at the airport, it’s important you act immediately. You can demand your money back by filing a verified claim for court action with Horak Law. Matthew Horak has assisted many people get their items and/or cash back utilizing his through knowledge of travel regulations, extensive resources, and litigation skills.

Call Horak Law today at (713) 225-8000 to set up your first consultation free. Horak Law can be found in both Houston and The Woodlands, but accept clients in many other parts of Texas including Galveston County, Fort Bend County, Liberty County, Harris County, and Montgomery County.

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  • Texas Board of Legal Specialization | Criminal Law
  • National College for DUI Defense
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Laywers
  • Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association
  • Matt Horak has earned recognition for community leadership by Lawyer Legion