A Nigerian born Texas nurse has sued US customs agents for seizing over $41,000 from her. Anthonia Nwaorie who was born in Nigeria, but moved to the United states where obtained her nursing license and became a citizen claims the money was supposed to be used to build a clinic for mothers and children in Nigeria.
According to reports, “she was about to board a flight at Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport to Nigeria on Oct. 31, 2017, when CBP officers detained her and seized $41,377 in cash from her. The officers alleged she had violated currency reporting requirements.”
Speaking on the incident, Nwaorie’s attorney, Dan Alban said “all her dreams have been put on hold due to CBP’s actions…Nobody should have to sign away their rights to get what’s rightfully theirs.”
Alban also said that his client’s plight exposes the government’s practice of seizing people’s properties without charging them.
The lawyer also alleged that the US government wants to stop people from suing over unlawful seizures.
Nwaorie also alleged that she was harassed at the airport when she came back from Nigeria in December 2017.
The nurse said that a CBP officer told her “that CBP would ‘follow her wherever she goes’ and subject her to this invasive treatment every time she travels internationally.”
She also claims that her luggage was ransacked and her leather purse was destroyed during the search.
The lawsuit filed by her lawyer reads: “Anthonia had entered the United States through U.S. Customs many times and was aware of the currency reporting requirement when entering the United States, but was unaware of the requirement to report currency of more than $10,000 when departing the United States.
“But rather than promptly releasing the seized cash to Anthonia as required under federal law, CBP instead sent Anthonia a letter dated April 4, 2018, conditioning the return of the seized cash on Anthonia signing a hold harmless agreement that waives her constitutional and statutory rights, and requires her to accept new legal liabilities, such as indemnifying the government for any claims brought by others related to the seized property.”
Nwaorie is demanding the immediate return of the $41,377 seized from her by the customs agents plus interest.
She also sees declaration preventing the agents from targeting her for additional, intrusive airport screenings.