Mexico Seizes $200,000 in Gold Coins at Airport Security Checkpoint

by Mark Nestmann
Feb. 11, 2011

An article from a Mexican newspaper reports that Mexican federal police seized more than 150 gold coins from a traveler in the Mexico City International Airport. The seizure apparently occurred last year; the article is dated April 19, 2010.

The traveler, a U.S. citizen named Thomas Martin, was on his way to Panama when police detained him. The article doesn’t specify the legal rationale for the seizure. However, Mexican law requires a customs declaration of cash or cash equivalents entering or leaving Mexico with a value exceeding $10,000. Martin evidently failed to make this declaration.

Mexican federal police routinely examine the carry-on luggage of outgoing international passengers to destinations south of Mexico (e.g., Panama). This is apparently how they found the coins. Carry-on luggage on even some domestic flights is scrutinized, as my colleague P.T. Freeman explained in a blog entry last year.

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