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Cash-detecting canine helps Customs seize $74K at Dulles Airport

Nicky, the currency-detecting Malinois who helped Customs and Border Protection officials seize nearly $74,000. Courtesy Photo/U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Nicky, a currency-detecting Malinois dog, played a central role in the seizure of nearly $74,000 at Dulles Airport Monday.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers, with the help of the canine, seized $73,900 from two Serbia-bound travelers at Dulles after the men were found in violation of federal currency reporting requirements.

Neither man was criminally charged, according to CBP, and they were released to continue their trip -- but with only a small fraction of their cash.

According to CBP, officers initially stopped the first man in the jetway to the plane and asked how much currency he was carrying. The man reported $1,500 both verbally and in writing. But after inspecting his baggage and jacket, CBP agents discovered four envelopes that contained approximately $50,000.

Meanwhile, Nicky sniffed out another passenger, who claimed to be the first subject’s son-in-law. The second man reported that he was holding $7,000, but a subsequent inspection discovered two envelopes in his jacket containing nearly $20,000.

CBP officers verified the currency totaled $73,900 in U.S. dollars between the two family men.

There is no limit to how much currency travelers can import or export, but federal law requires travelers report to CBP amounts exceeding $10,000 in U.S. dollars or equivalent foreign currency.

CBP returned $1,500 to the men and released them to continue their trip.

“This is a significant amount of currency to conceal, and these two men are very fortunate to avoid criminal prosecution,” Wayne Biondi, CBP port director for the Area Port of Washington Dulles, said in a statement. “Customs and Border Protection hopes this seizure is a reminder to all travelers to be truthful with CBP officers. The best way to hold onto one’s currency is to truthfully report all of it to a CBP officer.”

CBP routinely conducts inspection operations on arriving and departing international flights and intercepts narcotics, weapons, currency, prohibited agriculture products and other illicit items at the nation’s 328 international ports of entry. On a typical day, CBP officers seize and average of $356,396 in undeclared or illicit currency, according to the agency.

In accordance with The Privacy Act, the Serbia-bound travelers' names were not released since they weren't criminally charged.

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That dog is MONEY!

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