Customs seize over $10.8K from woman


A woman who claimed to have only $7,000 upon arriving at the Saipan airport from Guam in July was allegedly found with $10,897 in all, including some bills that were wrapped inside sanitary napkins.

Customs inspectors at the Francisco C. Ada/Saipan International Airport immediately seized the hoard.

Asserting that undeclared money is considered contraband, the Office of the Attorney General wants to forfeit the money.

According to complaint, Julin Li arrived on Saipan from Guam via United Flight 6391 last July 24 at 12:40pm.

When Li arrived at the Customs counter, she presented a Customs inspector with a Customs declaration in which she indicated she was carrying $7,000.

Prompted by Li’s reaction and change in demeanor when asked how much cash she was carrying, a Customs inspector found in Li’s purse two wallets, including one that contained a stash of $100 bills.

The inspector asked Li again if she had more than $10,000, but she allegedly insisted she had only $7,000.

Another inspector told Li that money in excess of $10,000 is subject to declaration and if not declared is contraband and may be forfeited. Li allegedly stated for the third time that she had no $10,000.

The inspector found $100 bills stuffed in an outside pocket of the second wallet and that more bills were uncovered in another outside pocket, this time wrapped inside sanitary napkins, according to assistant attorney general Hessel E. Yntema IV.

Another pocket allegedly contained more $100 bills.

The inspector also discovered more $100 bills in Li’s upper inner thigh.

Li allegedly later told another inspector that she hid the money in her pants because she knew she was carrying more than $10,000.

The total currency found amounted to $10,897 and 2,000 Japanese yen.

Under Commonwealth law, it is unlawful for any person to bring “currency, coin, travelers checks, money orders, and/or negotiable instruments of a total of more than $10,000 unless the amount is reported to the Division of Customs in a signed Customs declaration form prior to entry into the Commonwealth.”

Yntema said Li did not declare the amount.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at

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