This past year has seen an explosion of seizures of bank accounts by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) for alleged trade-based, money laundering or "structuring" deposits of cash into one or more bank accounts. The funds in the bank accounts are taken when the bank is served with a Seizure Warrant signed by a Federal Court Magistrate Judge, based upon an affidavit prepared by the DEA or ICE Agent. The Seizure Warrant itself typically alleges that the money is subject to seizure because is it the proceeds of drug activity in violation of 21 U.S.C. 881 and 18 U.S.C. 1956.
To the dismay of the local international trade community, three international freight forwarding companies and their owners were arrested for illegally exporting merchandise to a company in Paraguay. The company in Paraguay had been designated a "Specially Designated Global Terrorist" by the United States Government. Exporters and forwarding companies sending any cargo to such a company, even Sony Playstation video games, would be a violation of law.
Bank accounts are more frequently being frozen or seized by the Federal Government for money laundering. Often, the owners of the seized bank accounts were somehow connected to shipping cargo to, receiving cargo from, or doing business with Colombia. Legitimate business persons who are falsely accused should aggressively pursue getting their money back.