Seizes $200,000 in Gold Coins at Airport Security Checkpoint
by Mark Nestmann: Federal
Court Tells Frustrated Annuity Investors to 'Get Lost'
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.
a U.S. citizen named Thomas Martin, was on his way to Panama when
police detained him. The article doesnt 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
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.
also doesnt describe what coins police seized, except that
they were manufactured in the United States and South Africa. This
implies the coins were U.S. eagles and South African Krugerrands.
In the photo accompanying the article, all the coins appear to be
one ounce in size.
We also dont
know where Martin began his flight to Panama. If his journey originated
in the United States, there would be no apparent reason to transit
Mexico. There are direct flights to Panama from Houston, Miami,
and other U.S. cities. Its possible that Martin simply walked
across the border at one of the numerous U.S.-Mexico entry points,
and then booked a flight to Panama through Mexico City at the nearest
airport. Entering Mexico this way generally avoids any outbound
inspection by U.S. customs, or inbound inspection by Mexican customs.
Authorities in both countries have the right to inspect the bags
of a pedestrian entering Mexico from the United States, but usually
an outbound customs inspection, Martin would still have been required
to file Census Bureau Form 7525-V, since the market value
of the metals exceeded $2,500. He probably wouldnt be required
to file Treasury Form 105, because the legal tender
value of the coins apparently didnt exceed $10,000. Failure
to file these forms, when required, can lead to confiscation of
the reportable goods, along with possible fines and even imprisonment.
have somehow avoided having his coins seized in Mexico, he might
have faced problems upon his arrival in Panama. To import this quantity
of gold (or any other merchandise with a value exceeding $2,500)
into Panama, hed need to hire a customs broker in advance
of his trip. The customs broker would then appraise the value of
the shipment and arrange with the importer (Martin) for payment
of Panamanian goods and services tax (7%). Its possible Martin
did this, but he may have planned to smuggle the coins into Panama
without declaring them. Of course, he never got that far.
internationally is serious business, especially if youre transporting
cash, gold or other valuable items yourself. You need to educate
yourself on the rules that apply and the traps into which you might
run. Thomas Martin apparently failed to heed this advice, and it
cost him $200,000. (If he had read P. T. Freemans blog entry,
hed have known better!)
Have you moved
gold or other precious metals into Mexico or Panama? What were your
post a comment!
with permission from The Sovereign
Mark Nestmann is a journalist with more than 20
years of investigative experience and is a charter member of The
Sovereign Society’s Council of Experts. He has authored over a dozen
books and many additional reports on wealth preservation, privacy
and offshore investing. Mark serves as president of his own international
consulting firm, The Nestmann Group, Ltd. The Nestmann Group provides
international wealth preservation services for high-net worth individuals.
Mark is an Associate Member of the American Bar Association (member
of subcommittee on Foreign Activities of U.S. Taxpayers, Committee
on Taxation) and member of the Society of Professional Journalists.
In 2005, he was awarded a Masters of Laws (LL.M) degree in international
tax law at the Vienna (Austria) University of Economics and Business
© 2011 Mark
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