Global customs operation hits cash smugglers
Customs authorities in more than 80 countries collaborated to seize at least $3.5 million in smuggled cash and identify $24 million in undeclared currency during a one-week period in late October.
The joint effort, called Operation ATLAS, involved real-time information sharing through a secure communication tool developed by the World Customs Organization and coordination of cash declaration data to disrupt and dismantle criminal organizations that smuggle illicit cash around the world. Inspectors used several different methods to detect cash carried in baggage, on travelers and in shipments aboard commercial flights at designated airports.
|U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano (left) and Kunio Mikuriya, the World Customs Organization's secretary general, speak at WCO headquarters in Belgium on Friday.|
U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Kunio Mikuriya, secretary general of the WCO, made the announcement at WCO headquarters in Belgium on Friday.
Two DHS agencies, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection, led the U.S. enforcement effort, with help from Interpol and Europol.
'Operation ATLAS provided the perfect platform to promote the implementation of international anti-money laundering standards and recommendations, to improve national control techniques, and to enhance cooperation among all parties involved in fighting money laundering and terrorist financing,' Mikuriya said. 'The operation's successful outcomes also demonstrate the benefits that accrue from coordinated and focused inter-agency cooperation at the national level.'
Napolitano also discussed ways to improve risk-based cargo screening during a meeting with the WCO chief. Her stop in Belgium was part of a week-long trip to Europe and the Middle East.