Office of National Drug Control Policy

ONDCP Excel Eighty-Third Row

Action Item Number: 
Action Item Name: 
Disrupt Illicit Financial Networks by Exploiting Cash Seizures
Action Item Description: 

Bulk seizures of currency, regardless of who makes the seizure or where it is made, should be treated, to the extent allowable by law, as drugs or other contraband are treated.

Read more
The reason to characterize bulk currency as contraband is that it places a stronger focus on investigating and prosecuting those individuals who are transporting the currency. The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), for example, partnered with DEA, IRS, ICE, and FBI to put together Financial Investigative Teams that are now deployed to investigate significant currency seizures. Now, 100 percent of individuals caught with illicit proceeds are prosecuted, compared with about 1 percent 5 years ago. In Texas, these initial seizures now lead to controlled deliveries, which enable the identification of coconspirators, detection of currency stash locations, and generation of important leads on major trafficking organizations. Some of these investigations have resulted in the discovery of much more money than what was found at the initial seizure. IRS should facilitate these financial investigations by working directly with and training State and local law enforcement agencies on interviewing suspects and on money-laundering investigative techniques that will increase their financial investigative skills. ICE will continue its focus on bulk cash smuggling through Operation Firewall, and DEA will maintain its Money Trail Initiative coordinated by the Special Operations Division. All Federal agencies listed above will assist State and local partners in conducting currency investigations, provide best practices information, and report back to ONDCP in 2010 on progress in changing the way currency seizures are treated throughout the United States.

Lead Agency: