According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, CBP officers at Chicago O’Hare seized 50,000 vaping pens from Hong Kong.
The “dragster Mountain Vape Pens” were seized because they violate the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) regarding the importation of tobacco products – specifically for being misbranded and for being imported by an unauthorized agent. Typically this means an importer is not authorized to import goods (that may be counterfeit).
According to the Customs media release, Customs believes the shipment was intentionally and improperly mislabeled as “lithium ion batteries” to avoid seizure.
While not reported in the Customs media release – shipments that are mislabeled are typically seized under statute 19USC1499(a)(3)(A), copied below:
(3)Unspecified articles If any package contains any article not specified in the invoice or entry and, in the opinion of the Customs Service, the article was omitted from the invoice or entry—(A) with fraudulent intent on the part of the seller, shipper, owner, agent, importer of record, or entry filer, the contents of the entire package in which such article is found shall be subject to seizure; or
19USC1499(a)(3)(A) is a catch all statute Customs frequently uses to seize any goods that are not included in paperwork. Omissions or mis-representations on the paperwork (regardless of goods being imported) is the easiest way for Customs to seize shipments. If you are in the import business – be sure the exporter is correctly declaring the shipment and are following your import compliance manual and procedures.
If you import and don’t have a compliance manual or procedures – contact me, you need one, 832-896-6288.
Going back to the vape pens – Customs will likely not release these goods as the FDA has increasingly cracked down on the importation of these vape pens and other nicotine delivery systems. The alleged counterfeit nature of the pens and the mislabeling of the shipment will likely mean these vape pens will not be released.
If you have had your goods seized by Customs, contact seizure attorney David Hsu immediately by phone or text at 832-896-6288 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.