Ancient artifact from Iran seized by US Customs.

Seized Iranian vase, source: CBP.gov

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officers in Kentucky seized a shipment containing an antique amber glass bottle believed to be an antique from the 9th to 10th century. CBP officers forwarded the antique to a subject matter export who examined the bottle and determined the bottle was from Iran between the 11th and early 13th centuries.

The shipment from the UK bound for an address in Colorado was unfortunately seized for Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) violations. As you are aware, current OFAC rules prohibit the importation of goods or services from Iran. OFAC is a department under the U.S. Treasury and enforces economic and trade sanctions against certain countries and individuals who are believed to be involved with terrorism, narcotics, human trafficking or other illegal and disreputable activities.

Besides OFAC issues, CBP also helps protect cultural property and keeps antiques with their rightful owners. The seized Iranian vase will be returned to Iran.

In addition to merchandise from Iran, OFAC regulations prohibit importation of goods and services from Cuba, Burma (Myanmar), and most of Sudan. Certain exceptions can be made but do require an OFAC license for those importations.

If you have any questions about OFAC enforcement or compliance, contact David Hsu by phone/text anytime at 832-896-6288 or by email at: attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

CBP Returns artifacts to Cyprus Government

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Image of seized coins being returned to the Cyprus Government; source: CBP.govQ

Back in 2009, U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) seized a shipment of ancient coins in a 2009 air cargo shipment from London to a coin collector in Missouri. CBP officers seized the coins and sent a request to the coin collector for documentation to show they could import the goods.

In general, CBP is tasked with returning cultural property (arts, artifacts, antiques, etc) to the country that owns the cultural property. CBP does require importers to have the correct documents to show they have the ability to import the goods in to the US. In the instnat seizure, the collector in Missouri told CBP they did not have authority from Cyprus and the coins were seized. Recently, the coin collector lost their legal battle and the coins were returned to the government of Cyprus in a ceremony at the Cyprus Embassy in Washington D.C.

According to the Customs media release:

An appraisal determined that the collection dated from the Roman Empire, from several periods during 81 BC through 217 AD. The collection includes:

Two bronze coins from an unspecified Roman period
One coin from the Ptolemaeus period, 81 BC -58 BC
One coin from the Augustus period, 27 BC – 14 AD
Two coins from the Tiberius period, 14-37 AD
One coin from the Severan period, 193 AD – 217 AD

If you have had your import seized because they were a “cultural artifact”, contact experienced seizure attorney David Hsu to evaluate your options. Phone/text 832-896-6288 at anytime or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

CBP seizes ancient mummy linens.

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Image of the seized mummy linens, source: CBP.gov

The Port Huron, Michigan U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Office of Field Operations (OFO) seized ancient Egyptian mummy linens earlier in May.

CBP randomly examined a Canadian mail truck and an inspection revealed five jars containing ancient Egyptian mummy lien. Working with an archeological organization in DC, CBP believes the antiques are from the Ptolemaic Dynasty 305-30 BC and the importer was unable to prove that the artifacts were removed from Egypt prior to April 2016. Imports after April 2016 are subject to the Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act.

The seized items will likely be turned over to the State Department for repatriation.

If you import any antiques and want to ensure you are in compliance, contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu BEFORE you import by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.