Kratom contaminated with salmonella seized by CBP.

Image of kratom powder, source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) media release, CBP officers in Detroit seized more than a half ton of “salmonella-laced Kratom” at the Fort Street Cargo Facility.

Author’s comment: the original headline was “CBP Seizes Half Ton of Salmonella-Laced Kratom“. Not sure why they used the word “laced” in the headline as lacing something is typically used to mean adding an ingredient to bulk up a drug. I am unsure how a kratom exporter can “lace” kratom with salmonella on purpose or if there would be a benefit to doing so. Additionally, the use of the word “lace” to describe kratom may also be an effort to associate kratom as dangerous as other illegal drugs that are frequently laced such as crack, heroin, PCP, etc.

The media release reports 1,200 pounds of contaminated powder (valued according to CBP at $405,000) was selected for further inspection due to an unusual description and classification discrepancies.

CBP said the kratom “which originated from China, were manifested as botanical soils from Canada, though Officers and specialists believed it to be consistent in appearance to bulk green tea”.

Author’s comment: this is the first time I have heard of kratom from China, maybe it was transhipped from Indonesia? CBP did not indicate the “classification discrepancy” or point out what HTSUS code was used to enter the kratom.

CBP took a sample of the power and sent it to the Food and Drug Administration for lab tests – which confirmed the shipment was kratom but also saw it was contaminated with salmonella. As a result, CBP seized the shipment “due to significant risk to public health and safety”.

Author’s comment: CBP does not specify the import alert on kratom as the basis for seizure. I have not seen the seizure notice (it will only be sent to the importer of record), but it was likely seized for not being described as kratom on the shipping documents.

In the last paragraph of the CBP media release, they write:

Kratom is a tropical tree native to Southeast Asia, and its leaves are often ingested in the form of tea. Depending on dosage, Kratom can produce both stimulant and sedative effects. Kratom is not a scheduled substance under the Controlled Substances Act, though the Drug Enforcement Administration currently lists it as a Drug or Chemical of Concern.

It is interesting they do not mention the 2016 import alert regarding kratom. If you have had your shipment of kratom (mitragyna speciosa) seized by CBP, contact David Hsu, 24/7 by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

Counterfeit footwear valued over $270k seized in Kentucky.

Counterfeit Louis Vuitton, source: CBP.gov

In early June, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Kentucky seized a shipment of counterfeit luxury footwear from Turkey headed for a home in Georgia.

The seizure consisted of two shipments of counterfeit Louis Vuitton sandals carrying an MSRP of $276,540 if authentic.

CBP claims the purchase of counterfeit goods supports criminal activity while robbing businesses of revenue. The early June seizure of sandals is only a small portion of the reported $4.3 million worth of counterfeit products seized daily last year, as reported by CBP.

If you have had your goods seized by Customs, you do have to act fact – certain time lines are in effect from the day Customs issues the seizure notice.

Contact trade attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com anytime for immediate help.

San Juan CBP seizes counterfeit luxury products worth $265,000.

Image of seized Rolex watches, source: CBP.gov

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents in San Juan seized counterfeit watches and jewelry from a shipment from Hong Kong. If genuine, the value of the counterfeit products would total approximately $256,000. The above image from Customs shows a display of the fake Rolex brand watches seized.

If you have had your goods seized by Customs, you may face both criminal and civil penalties. Contact David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 to discuss your options – feel free to also send us an email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

Importer and company executives pay $5.2 million penalty under the FCA.

pexels-photo-3958960

Photo by Curtis Adams on Pexels.com

The DOJ recently announced a $5.2 million settlement from importer, Blue Furniture Solutions, LLC, based on alleged importation of merchandise into the United States using false descriptions and invoices that claimed the merchandise was not within the scope of the antidumping duties on wooden bedroom furniture from China.

A whistleblower under the FCA’s qui tam provisions exposed Blue Furniture Solution’s intentional misrepresentations totaling $1.7 million in antidumping payments. The US Department of Justice (DOJ) intervened under the FCA.

One year later, on April 20, 2020, the DOJ announced the $.52 million settlement – in which the company pays $4.7 million and executives pay $550,000 for personal liability. Information on this case can be found in the following: United States ex rel. University Loft Company v. Blue Furniture Solutions, LLTC et al., No. 15-CV-588-LY (W.D. Tex.). The related criminal matter appeared under the case name United States v. Zeng, No. 19-CR-64-DCN (D.S.C.).

If you believe an importer is misrepresenting their customs entry to save on AD duties, or if you are a subject of an FCA investigation, contact experienced customs and trade law attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 by phone or text; or email attorney.dave@yahoo.com; dh@gjatradelaw.com.

CBP seizes counterfeit 3M masks.

3MMasks

Image of seized “3M” masks, source: CBP.gov

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officers in Cincinnati examined a package from China with its contents manifested as “mask” on April 3rd. Upon examination, CBP officers discovered 2,000 counterfeit masks branded as 3M. If authentic, the value of the masks would have been approximately $7,000. The package was destined to an individual residence in Austin, Texas.
*****
If CBP seizes your goods for violating intellectual property rights, such as importing facemasks using the “3M” mark, you will receive a Notice of Seizure or Seizure Notice in the mail. The notice will be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested (CMRRR) and will be sent to the address on the package or the listed importer of record.
From 30 days of the date of notice (and not the day you receive it), you will need to file a response. The options are: forfeit the items, offer in compromise, refer to court or file a seiure petition.
What if you do nothing? Then after 30 days, CBP will begin forfeiture of the seized goods – ie, CBP will take and destroy the items.
And then? Then you (importer of record) may receive a civil penalty notice (ie, a fine) for importing goods that violate a trademark registered with Customs.
If you have had your shipment seized by Customs, contact David Hsu by phone/text anytime at 832.896.6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

CBP seizes $45k in unreported currency.

45157OBLrd41120

Image of the seized currency, source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, the Office of Field Operations (OFO) in Laredo seized over $45,000 in undeclared currency in a single event over the weekend.

Officers seized the currency from a new 2020 Toyota Avalon traveling to Mexico during examination. A physical inspection revealed $45,147 in undeclared currency. As a result, the vehicle and cash was seized by CBP. In this instance, the vehicle, cash and seizure was turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) special agents for further investigation.

In general, if your seized goods are referred to HSI, then there will likely be a criminal investigation into the seized goods.

If you have had your goods seized in the Port of Laredo or any of the over 400 ports of entry into the US, contact experienced seizure attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

$51k in counterfeit electronics, Apple Air Pods, Jordans and purses seized.

PIT Apple762H 022420

Counterfeit Apple charger.

PIT Gucci889L 040520

Counterfeit “Gucci” purse.

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, CBP officers in Pittsburgh seized counterfeit consumer goods that included electronics, air pods, sneakers and designer brand purses. If authentic, the value of the seized goods would be more than $51,000. The two above photos are from the CBP media release.

It is obvious the purse is a counterfeit, however, I don’t believe the importers of the AC adapter should have their adapters seized – there is no way an importer or manufacturer would use an image of a red apple and believe someone would think that is a real Apple product.

The counterfeit goods were shipped in 23 separate boxes, of which 19 boxes were from Hong Kong, 2 from China, and 1 each from Singapore and Taiwan. The media release further itemizes the seized goods: 264 flawless shavers (no idea what these are), 235 Apple chargers (which wouldn’t confuse anyone as to their authenticity), 120 “Apple” ear pods, 60 HDMI switches, 21 fully-loaded Nintendo-like gaming systems (probably the emulators running Nestopia?), 20 pairs of Air Jordans and counterfeit purses featuring brand names such as Louis Vuitton, Prada, Fendi and Gucci.

If you have had your good seized and you received a seizure notice from Customs, contact experienced customs seizure attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com – no cost consultations.

Children’s clothing seized by CBP for excessive lead levels and flammability risks.

Kids Pajamas CHM

Seized clothing, source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, CBP officers seized commercial shipments of girls clothing and pajamas. The shipment from China was tested by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and found to contain excessive amounts of lead, violating the Federal Hazardous Substances Act. The other shipment contained pajamas also manufactured in China. Upon testing by the CPSC, Customs found the pajamas failed the flammability requirements under the Flammable Fabrics Act.

As a result of the violations, Customs seized the merchandise and will likely destroy the goods. I do not see any possibility the FPF paralegal would allow these goods to be entered into the US.

As I previously mentioned, CBP will first detain a shipment, have the shipment tested and then seize the shipment. After a seizure, Customs will send a Notice of Seizure to the importer of record for both shipments. Given the value of the shipment, $700 for the clothing and $1,500 for the pajamas, I don’t believe an importer of record will contest the seizures, much less hire an attorney to handle the seizure.

If you have had your goods seized for violating the CPSC regulations, Flammable Fabrics Act, the Federal Hazardous Substances Act or any other regulations from the alphabet soup of federal agencies, call experienced seizure attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

CBP revoke withhold release order (WRO) on disposable rubber gloves.

pexels-photo-1267349

Photo by ELEVATE on Pexels.com

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection media release, yesterday, CBP revoked a Withhold Release Order (WRO) for rubber gloves imported by WRP Asia Pacific Sdn. Bhd.

Briefly, a WRO is issued by CBP and intended to prevent goods suspected to have been made with forced labor or in violation of labor standards from entering the US.

The WRO, which was initially put in place last September and revoked recently because CBP obtained information demonstrating the company no longer produces rubber gloves under forced labor conditions. The process to revoke a WRO required CBP becoming involved with the manufacturing and labor practices to ensure WRP complied with international and US labor standards.

While the media release made no mention of the corona virus, it is unusual to see a media release singling out a revocation of a withhold release order, especially a WRO on PPE goods  such as disposable rubber gloves.

If you are subject to a WRO and want to explore your options, contact experienced customs attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

ITC publishes final determination of no material injury by imports of Fabricated Structural Steel from China, Canada and Mexico.

dirty industry stack factory

Photo by Life Of Pix on Pexels.com

About 30 minutes ago, the Federal Register published the final determination decision by the International Trade Commission finding no material injury by imports of fabricated structural steel from Canada, China and Mexico. The Final Determination can be viewed here: https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2020-03-20/pdf/2020-05845.pdf

The petitioners have 30 days to file an appeal in court. If no appeal is filed, importers who paid duties may be eligible for a refund after the deadline to appeal expires.

If you want to learn more about getting a refund for your imports of fabricated structural steel from China, Canada or Mexico, contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288, or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.