$300 Penalty for Beef Smuggler

This customs law blog is about more than just currency seizures at airport, but also about running afoul of the laws enforced by Customs in other areas as well. Here is a great case in point: when arriving travelers, knowingly or unknowingly, bring into the United States restricted or prohibited merchandise, such as beef. Here is the story:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists working at George Bush Intercontinental Airport intercepted a passenger’s attempt to smuggle prohibited beef, Aug. 20, resulting in a $300 penalty.

Beef is either restricted or prohibited from certain countries depending on the types of animal diseases which are prevalent in the beef’s country of origin. In this instance, the packaged meat originated in Vietnam where Foot and Mouth disease is prevalent.

CBP agriculture specialists conducted an examination of a passenger arriving from Vietnam.  The 20-year-old Vietnam citizen declared that she was bringing fish into the United States. However, when the agriculture specialists examined her luggage, they discovered 11 pounds of beef.   The packaging label indicated the meat was shrimp, squid and fish.

“CBP agriculture specialist are vigilant in their mission to protect American agriculture from intentional and unintentional biological threats,” said Houston CBP Port Director Charles Perez. “The risk of introducing plant and animal disease into our agriculture is real, and we are deeply committed to disrupting smuggling attempts that endanger our food sources.”

All 11 pounds of beef was seized and destroyed and the passenger was assessed a $300 penalty.

You might be facing penalties from customs for importing restricted or prhibited merchandise. We can help. Typically, we recommended preparing and filing a petition, with the assistance of legal counsel, which argues persuasively for the substantial mitigation, or when the facts and law warrant it, cancellation of the penalty in full.

Great Lakes Customs Law has been very successful in getting these kinds of penalties reduced and, sometimes, even eliminated entirely (some history of our success is HERE). If you have a penalty call our office at (734) 855-4999 to speak to a customs lawyer, or e-mail us through our contact page. We are able to assist petitions for customs penalties and seizures around the country.