$715k in US currency seized from bus entering the US from Mexico.

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According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, officers in Hidalgo intercepted $715,010 in unreported U.S. currency in a commercial bus attempting to enter into Mexico on September 24th.

The officers were conducting an outbound operation at the Hidalgo-Reynosa International Bridge and stopped the bus for further inspection. Officers used an imaging system and found 32 packages containing US currency hidden in the bus.

The hidden currency was seized by CBP and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) were involved.

In general, if HSI is involved, CBP believes the currency is the proceeds or will be used for illegal activities.

If you have had your currency seized by CBP, contact experienced currency seizure attorney David Hsu for immediate assistance. Phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

CBP conducts anti-counterfeit operations in New Orleans.

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Photo by kendall hoopes on Pexels.com

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, CBP officers in the New Orleans Field Office partnered with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) for their “Operation Safety Claus”. As indicated by the name of the operation, “Operation Safety Claus” is a joint anti-counterfeiting law enforcement operation in metro New Orleans to target the importation of counterfeit goods during the holiday season.

According to the press release, in the past few weeks, CBP officers have seized items such as makeup, contact lenses, hair products, eyelashes, and clothing. During the Halloween holiday, CBP seized an increase in items like contact lenses, makeup and other cosmetics. CBP warns counterfeit goods may contain bacteria, heavy metals, or other toxins that pose a health risk.

As in all their media releases related to counterfeit goods, CBP highlighted the public safety risk of counterfeit goods, the sale of counterfeit goods to fund illicit activities and crime and restated their counterfeit seizure figures.

If your property has been seized by CBP, you must respond or risk a civil penalty down the road and a loss of your shipment. Contact experienced seizure attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

HSI New Orleans Deputy Special Agent in Charge Gilbert S. Trill explained that selling and purchasing counterfeit items is an intellectual property crime, often used to fund international and transnational criminal organizations. These crimes can also have an adverse effect on the United States, in terms of reduced innovation, repressed job markets, and reduced quality. Additionally, it puts the public at risk with little recourse.

“You’re not going to be able to sue an illegal activity or transnational criminal organization,” he said.

On a typical day in 2018, U.S. Customs and Border Protection alone seized $3.7 million worth of products with Intellectual Property Rights violations, with the IPR industry topping $ billion nationally. Many of these products are shipped through mail facilities throughout the country.

“The discovery and interception of counterfeit merchandise that pose safety hazards to our citizens is an illustration of how CBP works every single day to keep dangerous goods from the commerce of the United States,” said Mark S. Choina, Assistant Port Director, Trade, Port of New Orleans.

The New Orleans office of HSI covers Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi, while the New Orleans CBP office covers Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, and Tennessee. For more information on IPR, visit https://www.cbp.gov/trade/priority-issues/ipr.

Fake lead batteries seized in Puerto Rico.

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Image of seized batteries, source: cbp.gov

According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officers media release, officers at the Port of San Juan, Puerto Rico, seized 1,072 counterfeit rechargeable deep cycle lead batteries under the “Reverse RU” trademark.

The lead batteries are used for solar backup systems, the MSRP if genuine is $208,068.

This seizure is just 1 of the 33,810 shipments seized by Customs in FY 2018. If you have had your items seized for suspected trademark violations, contact experienced seizure attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

CBP intercepts destructive long-horned beetles.

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Spondylindinae (Cerambycidae) larvae, source: CBP.gov

According to a CBP media release, CBP Officers in Baltimore intercepted the long-horned beetle larvae species known as Spondylidinae (Cerambycidae). According to Customs, the Long-horned beetle larvae are voracious wood borers that can cause extensive damage to living trees or untreated lumber.
After discovering the larvae, CBP issued an EAN (Emergency Action Notification) requiring the importer to re-export the shipment. Additionally from our experience, CBP will also issue a civil penalty for non-compliant wood packaging material.
This seizure in Baltimore is just a typical day for CBP, where CBP agriculture specialists across the nation seize approximately 4,552 prohibited plant, meat, animal byproduct, and soil, and intercepted 319 insect pests at U.S. ports of entry per day.
If you have had a wood packaging material penalty notice, or have received an Emergency Action Notification, contact experienced customs attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by  email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

$2.2 million worth of fake Nike shoes seized by Customs.

Image of seized Nike shoes, source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, officers assigned to the port at LA/Long Beach seized over 14,806 pairs of counterfeit Nike shoes that if genuine, carry an estimated MSRP of $2,247,680.

The seizure was multi-agency and included U.S. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents assigned at the Trade Enforcement Coordination Center (TECC). The shoes were discovered during examination of a shipment from China and were misdeclared as “napkins”.

Apparel, Footwear and Textiles Center of Excellence (AFT Center) import specialists and the trademark owner confirmed the shoes were in violation of Nike’s Air Jordan 1 Off-White, Air Jordan 12, Air Jordan 1 (blue, black, red, white), Air Jordan 11, Air Max ’97 protected designs and trademarks.

If you have had your goods seized by CBP or if they are sending you a civil penalty or you are facing criminal penalties, contact experienced seizure attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

CBP intercepts stolen SUV destined for West Africa.

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Image of seized stolen SUV, source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, CBP officers seized a stolen 2018 Cadillac Escalade, valued at more than $57,000 at the Port of Wilmington, Del, September 25th.

This most recent seizure was one of 16 stolen vehicles seized this year at the Port of Wilmington, a combined value of over $454,007 in stolen vehicles.

The vehicle was seized during a routine CBP inspection of outbound shipments destined for West Africa when the VIN number was associated with a 2018 Mercedes Benz.

Further investigation found the true VIN and the SUV was traced to a stolen vehicle in North Carolina along with fraudulent titles and export documents.

In instances such as the above, CBP will not release these vehicles – however, if you export vehicles and have complied with all the requirements, CBP may still seize your vehicle – if so, contact experienced seizure attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

CBP Agriculture Specialists in Texas find first discovery of pest in the US.

Dysschema mariamne_dorsal, courtesy CBP Hidalgo

Dysschema mariamne Warren (Erebidae), source: CBP

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, agriculture specialists at the Pharr, Texas Port of Entry discovered a rare pest, a first in nation discovery, in a shipment of prickly pear pads.

Specifically, CBP agents found the Dysschema mariamne Warren (Erebidae), a first in nation pest.

The Erebidae was discovered upon an inspection of shipment of pear pads from Mexico. After it was discovered, the U.S. Department of Agriculture entomology laboratory was consulted and the initial identification was later confirmed by a national specialist as Dysschema mariamne Warren (Erebidae). According to USDA entomologists, this pest has never been found at any of the nation’s ports of entry. CBP refused entry to the shipment and returned it back to Mexico.

If you have had a shipment detained by Customs for containing invasive species, or have had a shipment detained due to pests found in wood packaging materials – contact experienced customs seizure and detention attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

Zimbabwe claims CBP’s accusation of use of forced labor in their diamond mine is a “shameless lie”.

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Earlier this week, I blogged about CBP’s issuance of a Withhold Release Order (WRO) that allows CBP to seize products produced “in whole or in part using forced labor”.

One of the products subject to detention are “Rough diamonds from the Marange Diamond Fields in Zimbabwe; mined from forced labor.

Earlier today, moneyweb.co.za (a Zimbabwe financial web publication) accused the US of lying about diamond mining at the Marange Diamond Fields using forced labor – calling the claim a “shameless lie”.

In support of their claim, the article cites the Kimberley Process (steps that are taken to ensure diamond mining isn’t used to fund conflicts) finding that there are no restrictions on trade in Zimbabwean diamonds. The Kimberley Process represents 81 countries and covers 99.8% of the global rough diamond production.

Zimbabwe’s deputy mines minister, Polite Kambamura is quoted as saying the “doors are open” if CBP wants to visit Marange and that “we are a responsible state miner that operates within the laws of the country and we observe strict adherence to critical tenets of corporate governance”.

Like Marange in Zimbabwe, if you feel your company has been wrongly placed on CBP’s WRO list, contact experienced customs and trade attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

CBP seizes over $162k in mislabeled baby formula from Germany.

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Image of seized baby formula, source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) media release, officers in Philadelphia seized over 1,560 packages of HiPP brand infant formula for Germany because the product was mislabeled and not authorized for sale in the United States.

FDA inspectors also said the mislabeled products violated 21 USC 331 and 19 USC 1595 governing the importation of mislabeled or misbranded consumer goods.

CBP used this seizure as a warning to consumers about making internet purchases online and to ask consumers to ensure “online purchases comply with both state and federal government import regulations to ensure that those goods are safe and meet U.S. health code requirements”.

If you want to import your food products to the US, be sure your goods meet all US FDA and other agency requirements. Contact experienced import compliance attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

5,200 counterfeit refrigerator water filters seized.

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Image of seized water filters, source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), CBP officers at LA/Long Beach port seized 5,202 counterfeit refrigerator water filters that if genuine would have an estimated manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $224,202.

The counterfeit filters contained trademarks registered by Brita, GE, Frigidaire, PUR and NSF Certification. As you are aware, trademark owners can register their trademark and CBP will seize infringing use of such trademarks.

The filters were shipped from China and were to be delivered to an address in Washington.

If you or anyone you know has had a shipment seized for suspected infringement of trademarks, contact experienced seizure attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.