MIAMI – Perhaps you’re used to finding a few coins stuffed between the cushions of your couch. The chair that customs officers discovered at Miami International Airport had quite a bit more in it.
U.S. Custom and Border Protection officers say they seized nearly a half-million dollars being smuggled out of the United States in the bottom of a cushion chair that was part of a crate containing furniture to be shipped to the Dominican Republic.
The search on Sept. 3 found $491,280, to be precise, in unreported U.S. currency.
“Criminal organizations will attempt to export large sums of cash to launder their ill-gotten gains,” said Robert Del Toro, CBP’s acting port director at Miami International Airport. “This is a significant seizure and represents the impact we can make on criminal’s profits and was the direct result of our officer’s vigilance and watchfulness.”
Authorities note that it is legal to carry large amounts of money in or out of the country, but travelers with over $10,000 are required to report it.
CBP says that on a typical day it seizes an average of about $207,000 in unreported or illicit currency.