Police Seize $100,000 From Southwest Passenger At Dallas Airport, Claim It’s Illegal To Carry That Much Cash

A woman traveling through Dallas Love Field had $100,000 seized by Dallas police. She wasn’t charged with any crime, but the money is being taken from her. The Dallas Police Department mistakenly claimed that it’s illegal to carry more than $10,000 cash on a domestic flight without declaring it first.

Many people know that you have to declare when you’re bringing over $10,000 in cash into the country. Few people realize you need to declare when you’re carrying over $10,000 out of the country let alone would have any idea how to go about doing that since that U.S. still doesn’t have exit lines for immigration and customs.

  • You can find a customs officer at your international departure airport
  • Or complete FinCen form 105 online, especially important if you’re flying out of an airport like Washington National which has international flights but no customs facility. (International flights returning to the airport are limited to destinations with US immigration preclearance, and also are subject to the 1250 mile perimeter rule in any case.)

But there is no restriction whatsoever on carrying cash domestically – other than when you do it you might get mugged. By the government.

“[I]t’s absolutely legal to travel with any amount of money domestically,” said Dan Alban, a senior attorney with Institute for Justice. “But, unfortunately, both TSA and DEA have policies that treat what they consider to be large amounts of money as presumptively suspicious and indicative of criminal activity.”

…“Yeah, it’s not, it’s not. And that’s why I said it’s allowed. But again, when it’s in the screening checkpoint, again, like I said, if there is a large amount of cash, or if the way that it’s packaged, it looks strange, then we’re going to contact law enforcement,” [TSA spokesperson Mark] Howell responded.

Over the period 2007–2016 the DEA seized a total of $3.2 billion in cash with “zero convictions tied to this money.”

More on the horrible practice of civil asset forfeiture:

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I agree with you position on civil forfeitures. However I always wonder what is the REAL story about someone that would carry $100,000 in cash on a domestic flight.

    With nation-wide banking and electronic funds settlement there is NO need to carry large amounts of cash. Therefore it is very suspicious. Not saying people should have money taken for being suspicious but definitely warrants private questioning and if the story doesn’t add up (or changes) yes keep the money and have them fight to reclaim it.

    Frankly I bet the vast majority of cases where someone has large amounts of cash are for drug deals or money laundering. Would be nice to get the rest of the story

  2. @AC No, that is not how it should work. The burden of proof should be on the government to prove the cash is ill gotten. Unbelievable that people think the burden of proof should be on the citizen. WTF?

  3. Civil asset forfeiture is a scam. It’s illegal search and seizure under the Constitution. Needs to be ended. The Government has the burden to show the cash was unlawfully obtained or is going to be used for crime.

  4. When did the TSA stop being responsible for flight security (bombs, guns, knives, etc.) and become an intrusive general purpose snooping police agency? What does any amount of $$$$ carried domestically have to do with flight safety?

  5. If the person has committed no crime and has no intentions of using the money for illegal purposes, then law enforcement in my personal opinion has no right to take the money from a person. Is there currently any laws posted openly in airports prohibiting people from carrying that much cash during travel? Once police sees that kind of money from a law-abiding citizen, people often wonder if that money is ever reported to the evidence room, or do police officers allegedly split the money among themselves without reporting the incident?

  6. This in a city that has done a poorer job of managing aviation strategy than any other city and has public pensions in one of the worst shapes for a large, growing city.

  7. Just because in your world there might not be a reason to carry more than 10k in cash doesn’t mean those circumstances don’t exist. I used to sell gems and jewelry at weekend shows and frequently had large amounts of cash in my possession on Sunday night. Luckily nobody ever questioned me flying home with the money on Sunday night or Monday morning.

  8. This will be very valuable for all zero of your readers who are planning to carry $100,000 cash through an airport and who are not criminals.

    Are there problems with civil forfeiture? Yes. Is traveling with massive amounts of cash almost always nefarious? Yes. Should we waste mental energy about the big bad government because it creates an unwelcome situation for crazy people who are innocent but afraid to put cash in a bank so it can be transferred electronically? No.

  9. Shocked that cops/TSA with high school educations don’t know the law. By all means let’s give them more responsibility.

  10. CAF is nothing less than criminal. DEA even pays TSA screeners to tip them off about cash in carry on and checked bags. Some police departments rely on this $ for a large percentage of thier Ops budget – so of course this leads to corruption. A great YouTube site called lehto’s law is a good resource for discovering just how corrupt and widespread this problem is.

  11. Willie Sutton, when asked why he robbed banks, was famously quoted as saying “Because that’s where the money is!” Civil Asset Forfeiture is essentially a form of corruption/extortion where government agents and agencies use the same idea to take money from common citizens under the guise of money that *might* be associated with illicit/criminal activity.

    In the Bible (Luke 3:14, ESV), Jesus told soldiers ““Do not extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusation, and be content with your wages.” So while totalitarian governments have been taking (extorting, seizing) wealth from people for ages, it’s sad that agents of the United States are now doing the same.

  12. @AC
    according to the demoncrat party POC don’t know how to use the internet nor have access to it. They are also undeserved by the banking industry. So it would be perfectly normal for POC to carry large amounts cash with them. Also in the United States of America the government has the burden of proof to show you are guilty more commonly known as innocent until proven guilty.

  13. TSA are glorified (Mall cops) wannabes. This is why they should never and I mean never achieve Title 40 status. Otherwise mind as well make this country a police state. They are certainly lobbying to have law enforcement powers. This is scope creep and an overextention of government intrusions. Guards with puffed up uniforms and guard badges who are not stratified with their current status. This is a dangerous precedent. And of all politicians Bush signed off on this boondoggle.

  14. Love John Oliver, though the video was from seven years ago. Hopefully thing have gotten a bit better.

  15. This is the same reason red flag laws and such are also bad. Someone has to define what is bad. To many people, $10,000 or $100,000 may seem like a lot of cash but if you are rich or deal in a cash business it isn’t that much. Also, why is the fake maximum $10k, why not $500?

  16. This sentence is terribly written: “Few people realize you need to declare when you’re carrying over $10,000 out of the country let alone would have any idea how to go about doing that since that U.S. still doesn’t have exit lines for immigration and customs.”

  17. @Larry seriously go move to North Korea. Some of these are people who are having their money seized without any crimes being proven. It is BS that the government can just seize and keep money without real due process.

  18. I suggest some of you obnoxious anti-trafficking law advocates, extremists , bible thumping hypocrites & cultist clowns need to ask your children, keeper or therapist to read the article to you real slow- It WAS NOT TSA, or Homeland it was the freaking DALLAS PD who were ignorant of the law & illegally confiscated the funds.

  19. At the rate of inflation now a days, soon $10,000 will be needed to buy a coffee at Starbucks and the Police will just stand inside and grab everyone’s money.

  20. Can someone show me the law that restricts the amount of cash you can carry while traveling within the USA? Yep, that’s what I thought. I can’t find it either.
    Meanwhile, the Dallas PD is run by a bunch of unaccountable affirmative action hires that are as clueless as circus clowns. This story isn’t unexpected.

  21. It is absolutely unconstitutional and it absolutely happens a lot. I am aware of it, and would never carry more than a few hundred dollars in cash with me. But I’m not in the kind of business where that might be necessary. It’s time for the courts to respect the constitution and put an end to this. Convict the person of a crime related to the money or give it back.

  22. Another reason why I will be retiring overseas. The US is becoming a place I no longer recognize and a place I no longer want to live out my days in. Very sad !!!

  23. Cmorgan,

    Indeed there are places in the developed world where society at large need not worry as much about law enforcement personnel engaging in seizures like this under color of authority or otherwise trampling on natural rights.

    Law enforcement seizing deceased grandma’s shoe box of cash found under the bed and being personally transported to the bank may even be less likely to happen in “socialist” Scandinavia than in “Red” states of the US — you know, DeSantis and Abbott Land.

  24. I love Franklin’s comment. I am saddened to hear so many people willing to just let our constitutional rights continue to be eroded. Any of you genius citizens realize that none of these people are even charged? Anybody else wonder how much of this money leaks out of the property rooms? And since when is it any of your business whether any of these people were acting or ‘intending’ to act in a nefarious way? It is so ironic that there is so much noise about covid mandates because they don’t want to lose their rights but are so happy to have the rights of others trampled at the mere whim of a police department.

  25. I feel deeply for the victim but wish to point to a broader issue: the civil forfeiture abuse works in the opposite direction, too. The Federal Reserve Act, which created our current system based on a quasi-governmental central reserve bank, dictated that our cash be valid for all financial transactions. The exact phrase is, “This note is legal tender for all debts, public and private”. So, the same airport security force which seized that woman’s money allows airlines which serve that facility to operate a “cashless cabin”, which is ILLEGAL, printed on all of our cash!

  26. ANOTHER Nazi, authoritarian load of dog shit that was spear-headed by poopy-pants joe, the pedophile usurper.

    With EXCEEDINGLY few exceptions, demokkkrat scum are clearly traitors and threats to the freedom, liberty, and the very LIFE of EVERY man, woman, and child in this once-great nation!

  27. She sold her business and was taking the cash back to her home bank. I know this from a source who knows the family. They are not giving up trying to get their money back. There is video of the agents threatening her with arrest if she doesn’t just leave. She didn’t leave as it was her money.

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