Category: Smuggling

$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.

‚ÄúCBP agriculture specialist are vigilant in their mission to protect American agriculture from intentional and unintentional biological threats,‚ÄĚ said Houston CBP Port Director Charles Perez. ‚ÄúThe 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.‚ÄĚ

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.

Customs Seizes Nearly $226K

A new bulk cash smuggling case out of Yuma sector/California. This is different from the Customs seizures of currency our firm’s clients who have their money seized at airports around the country when traveling internationally. A bulk cash smuggling charges decreases the likelihood of a favorable return of seized currency. You can read the fully story here, but the relevant excerpt is below:

A Yuma Sector Border Patrol canine team alerted and located 57 grams of marijuana, 172 grams of hash, 700 milligrams of cannabis oil, drug paraphernalia, and $225,655 rp_Money-Stack-300x3001-300x300-300x300.jpgU.S. currency, while attempting to travel through Blythe Station’s checkpoint on California Highway 78. The vehicles, drugs, paraphernalia, U.S. currency, and all subjects will be processed per Yuma Sector guidelines.

If you have had cash seized by customs and are contemplating what to do next then use the information available on this website and 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 with cash seized by customs around the country, including Chicago, Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, Orlando and many other places, and not just locally in Detroit. Please read these other articles:

  1. Seizure of currency and monetary instruments by U.S. Customs
  2. Seizure for bulk cash smuggling into or out of the U.S.
  3. Structuring currency imports and exports
  4. Is it $10,000 per person?  Under what circumstances is filing a report with Customs for transporting more than $10,000 required?
  5. Criminal & civil penalties for failing to report monetary instrument transportation
  6. Is only cash currency subject to seizure by Customs?
  7. Responding to a Customs currency seizure
  8. How do I get my seized money back?
  9. Getting money seized by U.S. Customs back while staying overseas
  10. How long does it take Customs to decide a petition for a currency/monetary instrument seizure?
  11. Statute of Limitations for Currency Reporting Violations
  12. Filing a Petition for Seized Currency (with Sample and Tips) with CBP
  13. Don’t Talk¬†About Your Customs Currency Seizure Case

Money Seized, Smuggling Prevented by CBP in Yuma

CBP is reporting on a story of a bulk cash smuggling seizure of $25,000 in Arizona.

Coincidentally, we are in the process of preparing an article on the consequences of bulk cash smuggling currency seizure cases and how they differ from money seizure for a simple failure to report amounts over $10,000. The bulk cash smuggling charges are far more serious than the (already serious) failure to report charges. If you’ve had your cash seized for bulk cash smuggling under 31 USC 5332 (more on that law HERE) then you really need an attorney — that’s because even when legitimate source and intended use are proven — you could still lose all of your cash because it was¬†smuggled. Petition for Remission of Currency Seizure

Here’s the story, told along with other various exploits of Yuma CBP:

Friday night, an immigration inspection of a Greyhound Bus in Blythe, Calif. resulted in the seizure of $25,000 from a female Legal Permanent Resident Card holder. The female had the cash taped to her waistline. She claimed she was just transporting the money. The currency was seized as per Yuma Sector guidelines and the female was released.

If you have had money¬†seized by CBP and don’t know what to do,¬†call our office at¬†(734) 855-4999 or through our¬†contact page. We are able to assist with cash seized by customs around the country, including Chicago, Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, Orlando, San Francisco, Miami, and many other places, and not just locally in Detroit. Please read these other articles:

  1. Seizure of currency and monetary instruments by U.S. Customs
  2. Seizure for bulk cash smuggling into or out of the U.S.
  3. Structuring currency imports and exports
  4. Is it $10,000 per person?  Under what circumstances is filing a report with Customs for transporting more than $10,000 required?
  5. Criminal & civil penalties for failing to report monetary instrument transportation
  6. Is only cash currency subject to seizure by Customs?
  7. Responding to a Customs currency seizure
  8. How do I get my seized money back?
  9. Getting money seized by U.S. Customs back while staying overseas
  10. How long does it take Customs to decide a petition for a currency/monetary instrument seizure?
  11. Statute of Limitations for Currency Reporting Violations
  12. Filing a Petition for Seized Currency (with Sample and Tips) with CBP
  13. Don’t Talk¬†About Your Customs Currency Seizure Case

 

 

Chinese Honey Seized in Houston for Antidumping Duty Evasion

We previously wrote about the dangers of not knowing your supply chain, conducting due diligence, and how inadvertently buying goods you have no idea are subjecting to antidumping duties could get you into a mess of trouble and commercial penalties under 19 USC 1592.

At Channel 6 News in Houston, via the Associated Press, is an interesting story about antidumping duty evasion on honey that originates from China but was made it’s way through Latvia, Mexico, and ultimately, through the Port of Houston at the U.S. Border. ¬†Here is the interest party of the story, and it has to do with befuddlement at why Houston has become the focal point of illegal Chinese honey¬†imports into the U.S.:

Before the latest seizures, federal agents disrupted a network of honey importers who managed to evade $180 million in antidumping duties, which are penalties placed on imports that are priced at less than fair value. The penalty is imposed top provide relief to domestic industries that may be hurt by the low import values.

According to Richard Halverson, with Homeland Security’s Houston investigations unit, the city has become a focal point for illegal honey imports, but officials are not sure why.

You can read the rest HERE. Usually people smuggle drugs, money, gold, jewelry, and other things we consider valuable. Honey is not in that category. But, the smuggling here dealt with avoiding paying extra duties. That gets the product in cheaper than competition. But how much duty savings is your freedom, or non-liability for 592 penalties worth?

If you need help conducting due diligence, or face duty or penalty liability with customs you should contact our office by e-mail or call (734) 855-4999. We are experienced in defending customs 592 penalties, disclosing potential violations through prior disclosures, responding to notices of penalties, and preparing detailed and well argued petitions for mitigation of penalties or liquidated damages. You can also make use of our other articles, such as:

Customs 592 penalties articles:

CBP Seizes Counterfeit Money in Ecuadoran Import

This story does not involve a customs currency seizure because counterfeit bills are not considered a monetary instrument under the definitions applicable to 31 USC 5316, but they do present their own problems. Obviously, counterfeit currency is illegal in its own right, whether or not it has been reported to Customs or not. In this instance, the counterfeit bills were not found on an arriving traveller who was asked to make a report about the currency he was transporting, but was found hidden in an inbound shipment from Ecuador. The full story is HERE, and what follows is an excerpt:

Counterfeit Currency Seized
Counterfeit Currency Seized

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at John F. Kennedy’s International express cargo facility seized $65,200 dollars in counterfeit 100 dollar bills. On March 21, CBP officers found $65,200.00 counterfeit $100 U. S. bills concealed in place mats and a shoe bag from Ecuador. A total of $65,200 (652 Р$100.00 notes) of counterfeit U. S. currency was seized; this investigation is ongoing and no arrests have been made yet.

If you have had cash seized by customs and are contemplating what to do next, please make use of the other information available on this website or 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 with cash seized by customs around the country, including Chicago, Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, Orlando and many other places, and not just locally in Detroit. Please read these other articles:

  1. Seizure of currency and monetary instruments by U.S. Customs
  2. Seizure for bulk cash smuggling into or out of the U.S.
  3. Structuring currency imports and exports
  4. Is it $10,000 per person?  Under what circumstances is filing a report with Customs for transporting more than $10,000 required?
  5. Criminal & civil penalties for failing to report monetary instrument transportation
  6. Is only cash currency subject to seizure by Customs?
  7. Responding to a Customs currency seizure
  8. How do I get my seized money back?
  9. Getting money seized by U.S. Customs back while staying overseas
  10. How long does it take Customs to decide a petition for a currency/monetary instrument seizure?
  11. Statute of Limitations for Currency Reporting Violations
  12. Filing a Petition for Seized Currency (with Sample and Tips) with CBP

CBP Seizes $430k of Counterfeit/Smuggled Perfume in Champlain

Here is an¬†interesting counterfeit seizure story out of Champlain, New York, from CBP. The officers there intercepted a truckload of perfume with “suspicious labeling.”

From the picture produced with the news release it appears the importer attempted to disguise the counterfeit perfume bottles with labels that can easily be peeled off. In the picture, it appears the Beauty Woman” label was once on top of and concealing the¬†label that says “Miss Dior Cherie.” This is likely going to result in not only a seizure and penalty for violations of the trademark laws, but also for smuggling; because by mislabeling the perfume the importer concealed the counterfeit nature of the product.

This importer, if he did this intentionally, is too clever by half. I can see an argument that it was not known the perfume bore a counterfeit label underneath the upper label, but in the absence of proof of active measures to prove that steps were taken by the importer to ensure that counterfeits were not being imported, that’s going to be a tough sell to Customs.

CHAMPLAIN, N.Y. ‚Äď On March 19, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the Champlain port of entry seized over $430,000 in counterfeit perfume.

On February 21, CBP officers encountered a tractor trailer hauling a commodity listed as perfume. Initial review of the shipment revealed suspicious labeling and packaging consistent with counterfeit goods. Further review by CBP import specialists confirmed the goods were counterfeit and violated trademarks from the following manufacturers: GUCCI, Calvin Klein, Miss Dior, Juicy Couture, Ralph Lauren, and Carolina Herrera.

The shipment was seized for bearing marks identical with or substantially indistinguishable from trademarks.

The seizure was a result of a joint effort with Immigration and Customs Enforcement HSI Special Agents.

Like we have explained previously, this importer stands to face a hefty penalty — around $500,000 —¬†for this customs counterfeit¬†seizure.¬†Importing counterfeit items into the United States is a very serious matter.¬†Once forfeiture is perfected, the person who caused the importation will probably receive a¬†notice of penalty from U.S. Custom & Border Protection for a monetary penalty equivalent of the value of the products¬†if they were real (MSRP).

The importer¬†will have a chance to respond to customs’ notice of penalty with the Fines, Penalties, and Forfeitures office by filing a petition for mitigation and ask customs to reduce the penalty based on the presence of certain mitigating factors that customs particularly looks for.¬†Great Lakes Customs Law has been very successful in getting these kinds of penalties reduced and, sometimes, even eliminated entirely.

If the person fails to pay the penalty, the government can bring a lawsuit in federal district court to recover the penalty in the form of a judgment, after which point the government can lien property, garnish bank accounts, and seize property. We can help you if you are facing penalties from customs for importing counterfeit trademarked merchandise. 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).

Call our office at (734) 855-4999 to speak to a customs lawyer, or CONTACT US HERE. We are able to assist petitions for customs penalties and seizures around the country, including Champlain, Detroit, Chicago, Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, Orlando and many other places. Consult a customs lawyer who is well acquainted with the laws enforced by the customs service and who can judge the legality of the transaction, by even getting a prospective ruling from customs in advance.

Please read these customs counterfeit seizure articles:

CBP Seizes More than $1 Million in Currency

This is a news release from U.S. Customs & Border Protection¬†involving a currency seizure and the arrest of the people who smuggled the currency in their vehicle. The fact of the arrest¬†means that there is a fair chance that the individuals were involved in some sort of illegal activity. We typically handle cases for the¬†seizure of money at the airport by customs where there is no arrest because there is no apparent connection to illegal activity at the time of seizure.¬†You should¬†read our¬†popular page¬†on Responding to a Customs Money Seizure. Let’s have a look at this story, and a picture of the cash seized by customs:

The . . . seizure occurred on Dec. 7, at the Hidalgo-Reynosa International Bridge after CBP officers working outbound operations selected a tan 2010 Ford Fusion for inspection. The driver, a 29-year-old female United States citizen from Pharr, Texas and the 63-year-old male passenger, a Mexican citizen from Reynosa, were referred for a secondary inspection.  During the course of the secondary examination, Officers discovered packages of unreported U.S. currency secreted within the Ford sedan. CBP-OFO removed and seized 21 packages containing a total of $255,361 of U.S. currency that was allegedly headed into Mexico without being reported.

money seizure by U.S. customs

CBP Field Operations arrested the . . . individuals who were ultimately released to the custody of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents for further investigation. CBP-OFO also seized all the vehicles involved in the failed smuggling attempts.

It is not a crime to carry more than $10,000, but it is a federal offense not to declare currency or monetary instruments totaling $10,000 or more to a CBP officer upon entry or exit from the U.S. or to conceal it with intent to evade reporting requirements. Failure to declare may result in seizure of the currency and/or arrest. An individual may petition for the return of currency seized by CBP officers, but the petitioner must prove that the source and intended use of the currency was legitimate.

CBP’s Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas Port of Entry is part of the South Texas Campaign, which leverages federal, state and local resources to combat transnational criminal organizations.

Again, Customs gets it wrong here when they say “$10,000 or more” must be reported; it is “more than $10,000”. A slight difference, but a difference nonetheless.

Our customs law firm handles currency/money seizures made by customs in Detroit and around the country; call (734) 855-4999 to consult with a customs lawyer today (Responding to a Customs Money Seizure HERE).If you have had money seized by Detroit CBP/customs call our office at (734) 855-4999 to speak to a lawyer, or e-mail us through our contact page (see our case results here). We are able to assist with cash seized by customs nationwide, including Detroit, Chicago, Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Orlando.

Please read these other articles customs currency seizures:

  1. Seizure of currency and monetary instruments by U.S. Customs
  2. Seizure for bulk cash smuggling into or out of the U.S.
  3. Structuring currency imports and exports
  4. Is it $10,000 per person?  Under what circumstances is filing a report with Customs for transporting more than $10,000 required?
  5. Criminal & civil penalties for failing to report monetary instrument transportation
  6. Is only cash currency subject to seizure by Customs?
  7. How do I get my seized money back from customs?
  8. Getting money seized by U.S. Customs back while staying overseas
  9. How long does it take Customs to decide a petition for a currency/monetary instrument seizure?
  10. Targeted Enforcement for Customs Money Seizures

U.S. Customs Seizes Bulk Cash from 23 y/o US Citizen

In a currency seizure reported by U.S. Customs, customs seized over $250k 23 year old man headed into Mexico. No mention of an arrest, but just an ongoing investigation. This seizure is probably based on both bulk cash smuggling and failure to report. Both carry criminal consequences. Customs also gets the law wrong, as we explained below, which is a great reason to hire a lawyer for your customs money seizure case. Let’s have a look at the always-interesting-facts in this currency seizure story to see what the person did wrong that caused this encounter to end up as another customs airport money seizure:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers conducting outbound enforcement operations at the Brownsville Port of Entry seized $259,750 in bulk U.S. currency. [ . . . ] Stacks of varying denominations totaling $259,750 in cash seized by customsundeclared currency seized by CBP officers and agents recently at Brownsville Port of Entry.

On Nov. 24, CBP officers working outbound enforcement operations at the Gateway International Bridge came in contact with a silver 2007 Volkswagen Jetta as it attempted to exit the United States and enter Mexico. The driver, a 23-year-old United States citizen from Brownsville, Texas was referred to secondary for further inspection. In secondary, a search of the Jetta resulted in the discovery of two packages of bulk U.S. currency hidden within the vehicle. CBP officers seized the currency the vehicle and the case had been referred to Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents for further investigation. [ . . . ]

It is not a crime to carry more than $10,000, but it is a federal offense not to declare currency or monetary instruments totaling $10,000 or more to a CBP officer upon entry or exit from the U.S. or to conceal it with intent to evade reporting requirements. Failure to declare may result in seizure of the currency and/or arrest. An individual may petition for the return of currency seized by CBP officers, but the petitioner must prove that the source and intended use of the currency was legitimate.

If this guy could¬†prove the money came from a legitimate source and had a legitimate intended use, then this customs cash seizure was¬†completely avoidable. Near the bottom of this story customs states that the law requires that a person file a formal report of ‚Äú$10,000 or higher‚ÄĚ into or out of the United States. That is incorrect. The law requires reports of more than $10,000. If even customs doesn’t know the law, you are better of hiring an attorney.

Our customs law firm handles currency/money seizures made by customs in Detroit and around the country; call (734) 855-4999 to consult with a customs lawyer today (you can read our popular page on Responding to a Customs Money Seizure HERE).If you have had money seized by Detroit CBP/customs call our office at (734) 855-4999 to speak to a lawyer, or e-mail us through our contact page (see our case results here). We are able to assist with cash seized by customs nationwide, including Detroit, Chicago, Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Orlando.

Please read these other articles customs currency seizures:

  1. Seizure of currency and monetary instruments by U.S. CustomsKeep Calm and Declare Monetary Instruments Exceeding $10,000 USD
  2. Seizure for bulk cash smuggling into or out of the U.S.
  3. Structuring currency imports and exports
  4. Is it $10,000 per person?  Under what circumstances is filing a report with Customs for transporting more than $10,000 required?
  5. Criminal & civil penalties for failing to report monetary instrument transportation
  6. Is only cash currency subject to seizure by Customs?
  7. How do I get my seized money back from customs?
  8. Getting money seized by U.S. Customs back while staying overseas
  9. How long does it take Customs to decide a petition for a currency/monetary instrument seizure?
  10. Targeted Enforcement for Customs Money Seizures

The Government Wants Your Money

This is a Customs & Border Patrol story from KVOA, involving smugglers and a currency seizure.¬†This is a little different than the usual customs money seizure case we handle or blog about, which is the¬†seizures of money at the airport by customs (you can read our¬†popular page¬†on Responding to a Customs Money Seizure HERE). This story is not for a failure to report¬†while crossing the border or arriving at an airport, but rather, the belief that it was connected to the drug trade and drug smuggling. This gave the officers an¬†independent basis for the seizure, in which case the money¬†does not have to be in excess of $10,000 to trigger seizure. This is the type of civil asset forfeiture our customs law firm¬†does not typically involve ourselves in, but you can find more about why it’s so problematic HERE.

TUCSON – Tucson Sector Border Patrol arrested two undocumented immigrants and seized $10,000 after an agent stopped to assist a driver at State Route 85 near the Ajo area on Thursday, Nov. 6.

The agent offered his assistance after he noticed a vehicle pull over to the side of the highway. He found sugar sacks inside the vehicle, which according to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection are used for drug smuggling.

The agent then proceeded to do an inspection of the vehicle and the passengers, where he discovered the currency and the citizen status of the suspects.

The suspects were taken into custody and the vehicle and the $10,000 were processed for seizure.

If you have had cash seized by customs and are contemplating what to do next 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 with cash seized by customs around the country, including Chicago, Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, Orlando and many other places, and not just locally in Detroit.

Read these other articles about customs money seizures:

  1. Seizure of currency and monetary instruments by U.S. Customs
  2. Customs currency seizure for bulk cash smuggling into or out of the U.S.
  3. Customs currency seizure; Structuring currency imports and exports
  4. Is it $10,000 per person?  Under what circumstances is filing a report with Customs for transporting more than $10,000 required?
  5. Criminal & civil penalties for failing to report monetary instrument transportation
  6. Is only cash currency subject to seizure by Customs?
  7. Getting money seized by U.S. Customs back while staying overseas
  8. How long does it take Customs to decide a petition for a currency/monetary instrument seizure?
  9. Customs currency seizure; Tuition Money Seized by Customs

“Strapped” for Cash? U.S. Customs Will Seize It!

In a currency seizure reported by U.S. Customs, customs seized $50,000 from a 25 year old man headed into Mexico and arrested him; although not specifically stated in the story, the money was probably arrested for bulk cash smuggling and failure to report, which carries with it criminal consequences. If this guy could prove the money came from a legitimate source and had a legitimate intended use, then this customs cash seizure was completely avoidable. Our customs law firm handles currency/money seizures made by customs in Detroit and around the country; call (734) 855-4999 to consult with a customs lawyer today (you can read our popular page on Responding to a Customs Money Seizure HERE).

 Here are the details from customs:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the San Ysidro port of entry Wednesday discovered $51,300 in unreported U.S. currency concealed underneath the clothing of a man traveling to Mexico on foot.

The incident occurred on November 4, at about 11:20 a.m., when CBP officers were conducting southbound inspections of travelers heading to Mexico through the San Ysidro port of entry. Officers targeted a 25-year-old male Bundled Currency Seized by U.S. CustomsU.S. citizen, and escorted him to a secure area for further examination.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers inspecting travelers walking south into Mexico at the San Ysidro port of entry found these bundles of cash strapped (pictured at right) to a 25-year-old male U.S. citizen.During the inspection, a CBP currency and firearms detector dog alerted to the man, leading officers to the discovery of eleven wrapped bundles of U.S. currency concealed underneath layers of his clothing.

The man, a resident of Hacienda Heights, California, was arrested and turned over to the custody of Homeland Security Investigations agents. He was later transported to the Metropolitan Correctional Center to await criminal arraignment. CBP seized the money.

It is a federal offense not to declare currency or monetary instruments totaling more than $10,000 to a CBP officer upon entry or exit from the U.S. or to conceal it with intent to evade reporting requirements. Failure to declare may result in seizure of the currency and/or arrest.

The fact that he was arrested might (but not necessarily does) indicate that customs believed he was transporting the money for some illegal purpose beyond just the smuggling/failure to report violation itself. Apparently the cash wasn’t wrapped good enough to get past the detetction dog‘s might impressive sense of smell.

If you have had money seized by Detroit CBP/customs call our office at (734) 855-4999 to speak to a lawyer, or e-mail us through our contact page (see our case results here). We are able to assist with cash seized by customs nationwide, including Detroit, Chicago, Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Orlando.

Please read these other articles customs currency seizures:

  1. Seizure of currency and monetary instruments by U.S. CustomsKeep Calm and Declare Monetary Instruments Exceeding $10,000 USD
  2. Seizure for bulk cash smuggling into or out of the U.S.
  3. Structuring currency imports and exports
  4. Is it $10,000 per person?  Under what circumstances is filing a report with Customs for transporting more than $10,000 required?
  5. Criminal & civil penalties for failing to report monetary instrument transportation
  6. Is only cash currency subject to seizure by Customs?
  7. How do I get my seized money back from customs?
  8. Getting money seized by U.S. Customs back while staying overseas
  9. How long does it take Customs to decide a petition for a currency/monetary instrument seizure?
  10. Targeted Enforcement for Customs Money Seizures