Tag: crimes

CBP in Texas Seizes & Prosecutes for $10K in Unreported Currency

In this customs cash seizure story, Customs seized $10,436 from an American living in Mexico while entering the United States. Although the story reveals little more than a failure to report, apparently the man is going to be prosecuted for bulk cash smuggling (which is the intentional concealing of the money with the intent to evade the reporting requirement).

Here is the story (full version here):

DEL RIO, Texas – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Del Rio Port of Entry seized more than $10,000 in undeclared currency from a U.S. citizen living in Mexico early this week.

Customs currency seizure results in $10,000 cash seized.
Customs currency seizure results in more than $10,000 in money seized.

Around 5 p.m. Sept. 21, CBP officers at Del Rio International Bridge, inspected a 2000 Volkswagen Jetta as it departed the United States bound for Mexico. During inspection, officers discovered a total of $10,436 in U.S. currency in the possession of a passenger in the vehicle.

The passenger, an 18-year-old male U.S. Citizen residing in Ciudad Acuña, Coahuila, Mexico, was turned over to Homeland Security Investigations for federal prosecution on a charge of 31 U.S. Code § 5332 – bulk cash smuggling into or out of the United States.

Officers discovered a total of $10,436 in U.S. currency in the possession of a passenger.

“Large amounts of currency may be imported and exported with the proper documentation,” said Port Director Alberto D. Perez, Del Rio Port of Entry. “Failure to report international transit of $10,000 or more could mean forfeiture of funds and criminal sanctions.”

If you have had currency seized from Customs do not try to respond yourself but hire our firm, because we know what we are doing and have successfully handled many cases like yours. If you have questions, please give us a call at (734) 855-4999. 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

Importer Allegedly Undervalues Shoe Imports and Gets Criminally Charged

Imports into the United States must be properly classified and valued. Classification has to do with categorizing them on the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) in an 8 digit tariff code, and a 2 digit statistical suffix; valuation has to do with reporting the dutiable value of the merchandise which is usually the amount paid for the merchandise, plus certain other charges. Classification and valuation are bedrock principles of customs compliance.

In this vein, I was alerted  to a story about about a company that sells shoes/footwear which was, allegedly, reporting incorrect values to customs in order to save on duties. It looks like the company has been making its way in the courts for other reasons to, including trademark and breach of contract disputes. This story illustrates the importance of verify correct classification and valuation of merchandise; this can easily be done by requesting a prospective ruling from customs.

A federal grand jury in Sacramento on Thursday charged Romeo with evading about $5.6 million in customs duties. The company imports the popular Bearpaw brand of shearling slippers and boots and sells them nationally.Customs Classification and Valuation

. . .

“Tom has been fully cooperating with customs over the past several years,” said attorney Malcolm Segal, with Segal & Associates PC in Sacramento.

Romeo has deposited more than $4 million with U.S. Customs while the issue remains unsettled, Segal said.

Segal said the dispute arises from a technical issue over whether the shoes are completed products or component parts. The duties are different depending on how the shoes are classified.

Romeo owns and operates Romeo & Juliette Inc., a company that imports shoes and boots made in China and distributed under the brand names Bearpaw and Attix. The company sells to many national retailers.

The indictment alleges that from 1994 through 2011 Romeo had employees and others create false invoices that undervalued footwear he imported from China.

Source: Sacramento Business Journal. It sounds as though Romeo & Juliette filed a prior disclosure based on their attorney’s statement that $4 million was deposited with customs while it considers if it owes any money. That’s a smart move. Unfortunately, violations of the customs laws often involve criminal consequences in addition to severe civil penalties. It appears in vogue for Customs to pursue criminal charges for import violations: In August we posted analysis of a story of smugglers circumventing anti-dumping duties by transshipping aluminum extrusions from China to Malayasia and importing them via false documentation in San Juan.
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 Detention and Inspection for Smuggling

There are several reasons why imported merchandise might undergo a customs detention. Usually merchandise is detained for inspection so U.S. Customs & Border Protection can assess the admissibility of the imported merchandise or to verify the declared country of origin, preference claims, classification, valuation, and whether or not the merchandise is prohibited or restricted based on any number of laws and regulations enforced by customs. In some cases, customs detention of shipments, or a customs inspection, is caused by suspected smuggling. For example, shipments of tile have been detained in the past because smugglers were using tile to conceal heroin shipments.

Customs made two such recent drug busts this weekend during inspection of imported merchandise. The first story (accessible HERE) found more than three pounds of “heroin was contained in several cylinders and concealed in a shipment of flowers” with an estimated street value of $150,000.

Inspection and Customs Detention of Imported Merchandise
Heroin concealed in Flower Import

In a second seizure story, a customs detention of imported cargo found over 3,000 lbs worth of marijuana smuggled into the U.S. and manifested as Christmas bows:

Officers ran the tractor and trailer through the port’s imaging system and it showed anomalies with the cargo.  Officers probed one of the boxes and extracted a green-leafy substance that field-tested positive for marijuana.

Officers subsequently extracted 209 large packages of marijuana from inside the boxes, valued at $1.5 million.

Inspection and Customs Detention of Imported MerchandiseU.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Otay Mesa Cargo Facility Thursday afternoon discovered 3,370 pounds of marijuana in a shipment of Christmas bows. [ . . . ] The CBP officer referred the driver [of the truck] for a more in-depth examination. [ . . . ]

Officers ran the tractor and trailer through the port’s imaging system and it showed anomalies with the cargo.  Officers probed one of the boxes and extracted a green-leafy substance that field-tested positive for marijuana.

Officers subsequently extracted 209 large packages of marijuana from inside the boxes, valued at $1.5 million. [ . . . ] CBP seized the marijuana, tractor and trailer.

The images are from each of the shipments. As you can see, although the heroine was mingled in with flowers, there was apparently no effort made to conceal the marijuana with actual Christmas bows.

If you have received a notice of detention, have merchandise under intensive examination by customs call our office at (734) 855-4999 to speak to a customs lawyer, or reach out through our contact page. We are able to assist at ports around the country, including Detroit, Chicago, Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, Orlando and many other places.

 

Customs Wood Packaging Material Violations In The News Again

Wood Packaging Material violations and penalties should be something you don’t hear about in the news anymore. But WPM violations and the penalties that come with them, still rear their head everyone once in a while. We authored an article on everything you need to know about Regulated Wood Packaging Material violations and penalties, which discussed the elements of a violation, possible resolutions for the importer who is facing re-export of WPM, and notice of penalty for importations contrary to law for WPM violations.

The reason this should be something that don’t hear about anymore is because the restrictions on WPM have been in place since 2005… the trade community was given ample time to comply. Yet still, almost 10 years

WPM Mark
WPM Mark

later, customs released a C-TPAT alert for non-compliant wood packaging material violations. The whole alert is HERE, but I quote some parts below:

The purpose of this C-TPAT Alert is to inform all C-TPAT Partners, particularly its sea carriers, of recent interceptions of non-compliant wood packing material (WPM) used in flat rack cargo carried by ocean vessels traversing the Mediterranean.

WPM is defined as wood or wood products (excluding paper products) used in supporting, protecting, or carrying a commodity. Some examples of WPM include: bins, cases, cratings, reels, load boards, boxes, containers, pallets, skids, dunnage and crates. Snails and other pests may infest non-compliant wood packing material. These pests are regulated under the Federal Plant Protection Act. Snail

infestations of WPM is just an example of a threat that targets the world’s agriculture and the Nation’ food supply. With the ever increasing amount of trade, the threat to U.S. crops and livestock is real.

The commodities with the highest incidence of WPM pests include: manifested WPM; machinery (including auto parts); metal products; and stone products (including tile).
Other high risk commodities include electronics and electronic components, finished wood articles, plant products and foodstuffs.

Please read our article including everything you need to know about WPM violations by CLICKING HERE.

If you have been informed that you wood packaging material is in violation of the law and needs to be re-exported, immediately call or e-mail office at (734) 855-4999 and we can prepare an application to separate violative wood packaging material so that, if it is granted, you do not have to undergo the time and expense of re-exporting the merchandise you are trying to import.

If you have received a notice of penalty or liquidated damages and are being told you must pay as a result of the violation, immediately call or e-mail our office at (734) 855-4999 and we can prepare a petition for mitigation of the penalty amount.

Never pay full price in a penalty proceeding!

 

U.S. Customs Money Seizure Story; $145,000 Confiscated

Below is a news release concerning a customs currency seizure of more than $145,000 for failure to report and bulk cash smuggling (concealing money in cellophane bundles wrapped inside a shopping bag is predictably ripe for allegations by customs of bulk cash smuggling). 

Based on the fact that the woman was arrested and the the prevalence of drug money seeping across the U.S.-Mexico border, it seems highly likely that something illegal was happening here. However, innocent people who simply failure to report the amount of currency they are transporting get their currency seized and confiscated by customs everyday at airports and land borders. These people can get their money back with the if they follow the right steps to respond to their currency seizure.

Even though this person was arrested, they have the right to try to get the money back by proving legitimate source and legitimate intended use. The CBP news release also correctly states the person can petition to have the seized money returned, but there are other options, too: a claim could be filed which initiate judicial forfeiture of seized currency, and I occasionally there are cases where making an offer in compromise makes sense.

On to the full story:

EL PASO, Texas – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers and U.S. Border Patrol agents working at the El Paso port of entry seized $146,070 Thursday evening. The money was hidden in a shopping bag inside a vehicle that was leaving the U.S. at the Bridge of the Americas international crossing at the El Paso port of entry.

CBP officers and Border Patrol agents were conducting a southbound inspection operation at the BOTA crossing when a 2011 Dodge Durango attempted to leave the U.S. at approximately 11:15 p.m. CBP personnel selected the vehicle for an intensive examination after a preliminary interview with the driver. CBP currency detector canine “Nouska” searched the vehicle and alerted to a bag inside the vehicle. CBP officers and Border Patrol agents found three cellophane wrapped bundles inside the bag. The bundles were opened revealing the U.S. currency. CBP officers seized the currency. CBP officers dicovered [sic] three bundles of currency in a vehicle leaving the U.S. at the El Paso port of entry.

CBP officers took custody of the driver, 40-year-old Jennifer Guadalupe Hernandez, a U.S. citizen residing in El Paso. She was arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement HSI special agents in connection with the failed smuggling attempt and booked into the El Paso County jail where she is being held without bond.

“CBP officers and Border Patrol agents are checking southbound traffic everyday trying to stop guns, ammunition and unreported currency from being smuggled out of the country. Their diligence paid off in this enforcement action,” said Hector Mancha, U.S. Customs and Border Protection El Paso port director. “The unreported cash that we seize has an impact on the criminal organizations by making it more difficult for them to further their illicit activities.”

Individuals are permitted to carry any amount of currency or monetary instruments into or out of the U.S. However, if the quantity is $10,000 or higher, they must formally report the currency to CBP. Failure to report 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.

We handle currency seizure cases that occur at the Detroit airport and land border crossings like the Detroit/Windsor-Tunnel and Ambassador Bridge on a regular basis, and have been very successful in getting our client’s money back from customs.  If you have had money seized by Detroit CBP/customs, 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 nationwide, including Detroit, Chicago, Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Orlando. Please read these other articles from our customs law blog:

  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

Customs Money Seizure; $150K Seized at Border Crossing

What follows is an account of a currency seizure recently released by U.S. Customs & Border Protection where the traveler had almost $150,000 seized because he failed to report the currency. Anyone who transports more than $10,000 into or outside of the United States must file a report with customs, prior to or at the time of crossing. When customs seizes your currency after arriving at an airport or border crossing you should keep calm and contact us. Even though it seems like the end of the world, there are legal steps that can be taken to get your money back through forfeiture remission proceedings. On to the story (ORIGINAL HERE):

Officers with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Field Operations at the Hidalgo International Bridge seized $143,932 in unreported U.S. currency from a McAllen, Texas Keep Calm and Contact Your Customs Attorneyman as he attempted to enter into Mexico.

“This seizure of unreported U.S. currency was accomplished due to our officers’ outstanding attention to detail and excellent observational skills,” said Efrain Solis Jr., Port Director, Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas. “Although transporting currency either way across the border is not illegal, as long as it is declared to CBP, most seizures of currency involve money having been obtained from illicit activities.”

CBP officers working at the Hidalgo-Reynosa Bridge outbound lanes on May 6 encountered a U.S. based taxicab as it attempted to exit into Mexico. The driver and lone occupant, a 40-year-old male U.S. citizen were asked to declare what they were transporting into Mexico, to include currency in excess of $10,000. After further interaction with the passenger, the taxicab was referred to secondary for further examination. During the process of the secondary inspection, CBP officers discovered bundles of U.S. currency concealed within the traveler’s personal belongings. CBP-OFO removed and seized several stacks of unreported U.S. currency, which totaled $143,932.

CBP-OFO arrested the male traveler and subsequently released him to the custody of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) for further investigation.

When crossing the border with cash or monetary instruments, remember to stay calm and report anything in excess of $10,000 USD.

The reason your currency was seized by customs may be different. The vast majority of my client’s have had their money taken by customs at the airport or at the land borders because of miscommunication, ignorance of the reporting requirement, confusion, fatigue from travel, and other times because of unfair, if not necessarily illegal, enforcement tactics used by customs. If you have had money seized by customs, keep calm 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 nationwide, including Detroit, Chicago, Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Orlando.

Please read these other articles from our customs law blog:

  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

CBP at JFK Seizes Cocaine in Meat

Customs seized over 7lbs of cocaine from a man who apparently tried to smuggle it into the United States by hiding it in frozen chunks of meat from Trinidad. If CBP published statistics on stupid smuggling attempts that are bound to fail, this would go down as one of the stupidest smuggling attempts of the year.

Why is it so stupid? Because it is basically impossible to import meat into the United States without getting advance permission from either the FDA, USDA, or both — more on those restrictions HERE. Put simply, the problem is that the smuggler basically tried to hide something illegal in something that was illegal; typical smuggling attempts have people hiding illegal merchandise in or around perfectly legal merchandise.

Not only was this poorly planned for that reason, but who could ever doubt that a dog – trained for smelling both the presence of meat and narcotics – would not alert to cocaine wrapped in juicy chunks of meat? I mean, take a look at the picture below.

JAMAICA, N.Y. — An arriving passenger at John F. Kennedy International Airport had a different kind of ‘beef’ when encountered by U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers.Meat seized by CBP also contained cocaine

On March 20, CBP officers stopped Mr. Yudishtir Maharaj who was arriving on a flight from Port of Spain, Trinidad. During the course of the inspection CBP officers discovered three large
CBP at JFK Seizes Cocaine in Meatpackages of frozen meat within his luggage. When probed, the frozen packages of meat produced a white powder that tested positive for cocaine. Mr. Maharaj was arrested for the importation of a controlled substance and was turned over to Homeland Security Investigations. The total weight of cocaine seized is approximately 7.35 lbs.

“This latest seizure demonstrates the vigilance of our CBP officers, and their excellence in detecting those who would try to smuggle these illegal substances,” said Robert E. Perez, Director, Field Operations New York.

Mr. Maharaj now faces federal narcotics smuggling charges and will be prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the U.S. Eastern District Court of New York.

All defendants are considered innocent until proven guilty.

I do not represent narcotics smugglers, but a lot of innocent people and people acting in good faith or from a position of ignorance get their property seized by customs all the time. If you have had merchandise, property, orcash 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 Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland, New York, and many other places, and not just locally.

CBP at JFK Seizes More Than $121,000 of Counterfeit Cash

Any customs lawyer will tell you that it’s better to get caught failing to report real currency than to get caught importing in counterfeit money. In this case, the law has served its intended purpose, as the following news release for a counterfeit currency seizure at JFK Airport in New York City clearly demonstrates

On February 21, 2014, CBP Officers selected [a traveler] for a random baggage examination [who] was returning from Lima, Peru and presented one checked suitcase for Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnailinspection. During the examination of his checked bag, the officer removed a cardboard diary box. The inside cover was sliced open revealing what appeared to be counterfeit U. S. $100 bills.

In total, $121,300 in counterfeit U. S. currency was concealed in one diary box, two wallets, one fabric box, and two cloth shoe racks. Mr. Rodriguez Ezeta was placed under arrest, and the counterfeit $100 bills were seized. The counterfeit currency and all evidence have been turned over to the Secret Service for further investigation, and [the individual will be] prosecuted by the U. S. Attorney’s Office Eastern District.

Based on these facts, it seems fairly clear that the person transporting the counterfeit currency knew it was counterfeit; I say that because of the concealment of the counterfeit currency in several places throughout his luggage. 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 Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland, New York, and many other places, and not just locally.

CBP at JFK Seizes $150,000 in Counterfeit Currency

Any customs lawyer will tell you that it’s better to get caught failing to report real currency than to get caught importing in counterfeit money. You will note that this (counterfeit) cash seizure occurred as a result of the currency reporting requirement. The purpose of the currency reporting requirement is to do exactly this — catch people who are bringing in illegal (in this case counterfeit) money into the United States. In this case, the law has served its intended purpose, as the following news release clearly demonstrates

Jamaica, N.Y. — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at John F. Kennedy International Airport seized 1500 counterfeit $100 Federal Reserve Notes (bills) last month.

On December 14, CBP officers selected Ciara Ryan for a random baggage examination. Ryan, 38 was returning from Colombia and had two bags in her possession. The first bag was examined by officers and was found to have a strong odor of glue coming from it. Upon further inspection, CBP found alterations to its bottom; within the alterations were several suspected counterfeit U.S. $100 bills.
A black leather satchel also in her possession was examined and found to contain more suspected counterfeit bills concealed within its lining. Ms. Ryan was placed under arrest and a total of 1,500 counterfeit $100 bills ($150,000) were seized. She will be prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the U.S. Eastern District Court of New York.

Based on these facts, it seems fairly clear that the person transporting the counterfeit currency knew it was counterfeit; I say that because of the concealment of the counterfeit currency in a false compartment in the bag and in the lining. 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 Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland, New York, and many other places, and not just locally.

International Parcel Seizures by Philly CBP

I am sharing this story with readers of my customs law blog as it dovetails well with guidance recently provided to customs about customs liability for internet purchases. Although the seizures in questions below are certainly more of an intentional variety, but are nevertheless instructive because the parcel inspection and seizure process by customs is the same whether the goods are prohibited, restricted, or if there are mistakes made in the import process. In other words, importing steroids or illict street drugs is dramatically different from importing something that you are unaware is not properly marked with country of origin, or for which the shipper provided a incorrect value on the commercial invoice used during the customs declaration process.

On to the story from customs:

PHILADELPHIA – One of U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s lesser known enforcement priorities is examining incoming international parcels to hunt for a wide variety of prohibited and illicit products, such as weapons, narcotics, currency, insects and food. Hunting was good this past week.

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at the international express courier facility near Philadelphia International Airport recorded six khat seizures totaling about 150 Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnailpounds, 140 tablets that contained codeine, and 16 vials of steroids.

The parcels were destined to Everett, Mass., Riverwoods, Skokie and West Dundee in Illinois, Minneapolis and Rochester in Minnesota, and Cromwell, Conn.

“We know that U.S. consumers will attempt to purchase products they know to be illicit or illegal from overseas sources through the internet. Our best advice to them is caveat emptor, buyer beware,” said Tarance Drafts, acting CBP Port Director for the Port of Philadelphia. “Inspecting international parcels for dangerous and illicit products remains a Customs and Border Protection enforcement priority. There’s a great chance we’ll get our hands on your purchase before you do.”

The seizures started February 27 when CBP officers intercepted a parcel manifested as “Adidas junior bags” destined for Cromwell, Conn. Officers x-rayed the parcel and detected an anomaly that proved to be 24 pounds, 4 ounces of khat.

CBP officers then made two khat seizures Wednesday, one weighed 22 pounds, 3 ounces and was in a parcel manifested as “document procedures” destined for Skokie, Ill. The second parcel, manifested as “reports,” contained 15 pounds, 14 ounces of khat destined for West Dundee, Ill.

CBP officers also seized the codeine tablets Wednesday in a parcel manifested as “samples” destined for Rochester, Minn. The tablets were a product identified as Solpadeine, which is an over the counter product in Europe, but the codeine makes it a Schedule III drug in the U.S.

Thursday seemed like Groundhog Day, as CBP officers made two additional khat seizures. The first, 23 pounds, 9 ounces, was in a parcel manifested as “mobile phone accessories” and destined for Minneapolis. The second, 16 pounds, 12 ounces, was in a parcel manifested as “project development group report” and destined for Skokie, Ill.

The final parcel Thursday contained 10 vials of 10 ml each of Decatest 350 and six vials of 10 ml each of Megabol 275. The parcel was manifested as “Non Documents Amino Methyl Propanal” and destined for Everett, Mass.

In the largest seizure this week, CBP officers seized 46 pounds, 15 ounces of khat today that arrived in a parcel manifested as “Decorative Artistic Handicrafts” and destined for Riverwoods, Ill.

The 150 combined pounds of khat has a street value of about $45,000.

Khat is a green, leafy plant typically grown in the Arabian Peninsula and chewed for its stimulant effect.

The Drug Enforcement Administration classifies khat as a schedule 1 narcotic – the most restrictive category used by the DEA – when the leaves are freshly picked. Its principal components, cathine and cathinone, are considered controlled substances in the United States. Please see the DEA Khat Fact Sheet.

The World Health Organization classified khat as a drug of abuse in 1980. It is chewed for its stimulant effect and retains its potency for up to 48 hours after being harvested.

CBP routinely conducts random inspections operations on passengers and air cargo searching for narcotics, currency, weapons and other prohibited or illicit products as part of its border security mission.

The individuals to who these seized shipments were destined will receive a notice of seizure from customs explaining the reasons for the seizure; they will then be asked to respond to the notice of seizure by affirmatively abandoning the property, petition for its return, and a few other choices. No matter how the notice of seizure is responded to, it’s possible that in addition to criminal charges, those connected with the importation of these items will also be facing a civil penalty for the unlawful importation.

If you have had merchandise or money seized by customs call our office at (734) 855-4999 to speak to a customs lawyer, or e-mail us through our contact page. Once your merchandise is seized, Customs may issue a penalty for the violation of law itself. If you have received a notice of penalty from U.S. Customs call our office immediately to discuss the possibility of filing a petition to reduce the penalty amount. We are able to assist petitions and in seizures by customs nationwide, including Detroit, Cleveland, Chicago, Buffalo, New York, and Los Angeles.