Drug paraphernalia seized by CBP in Chicago.

“Seahorse” vape kits seized by CBP, source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, CBP officers in Chicago seized drug paraphernalia goods on multiple days earlier in December. In one shipment, CBP seized wax vaping kits and glass pipes in another shipment.

In general – if you import any sort of glass pipe, or glass pipes with plastic roses in them, or other vaping kits – they will likely be seized by CBP because it is illegal to import and export paraphernalia (21 U.S.C. 863(a)).

CBP broadly defines drug paraphernalia as:

“any equipment, product, or material of any kind which is primarily intended or designed for use in manufacturing, compounding, converting, concealing, producing, processing, preparing, injecting, ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing into the human body a controlled substance, possession of which is unlawful under this subchapter.” (21 U.S.C. 863(d))

CBP seized both the wax vaping kits and glass pipes because they can be used to smoke marijuana.

If you have had your good seized because they are considered drug paraphernalia, contact seizure attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

San Ysidro CBP officers seize $1 million in currency bound for Mexico.

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Photo by John Guccione http://www.advergroup.com on Pexels.com

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection media release – on December 9th, CBP officers stopped a vehicle traveling to Mexico for further inspection. During the inspection by the CBP canine team, the dog alerted CBP to the driver’s side quarter panel of the car.

Further inspection by CBP officers found many wrapped packages containing unreported US currency in the quarter panels, under the rear seat of the third row and the cargo area.

The media release doesn’t go into further details other than writing the cash was seized.

Typically, US media releases would mention the case was referred to Homeland Security Investigations – the criminal investigation arm of the Department of Homeland Security.

If you have had your currency seized by Customs, call David Hsu now at 832-896-6288 or email attorney.dave@yahoo.com for immediate help. You typically only have 30 days to respond to a currency seizure.

$25 million in fake watches seized by Customs.

Image of seized Rolex watches, source: CBP.gov

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Louisville, Kentucky seized 1,280 “Rolex” watches, if authentic, would be worth an estimated $25.2 million dollars. The shipment from Hong Kong arrived in four shipments to Louisville, Kentucky ultimately destined for Salt Lake City, Utah. If you are wondering why the seizures usually occur in Louisville, it is because that is where DHL/FedEx/UPS have their hub for shipments from China.

The Customs media release claims the watches were mis-manifested (wrongly described on the entry paperwork, packing list, or invoice). As an aside – Customs at their discretion seize goods that are mis-identfied.

Customs seized the watches and sent either sample photos or a sample seized watch to Rolex to confirm authenticity. As Rolex (and any property rights holder) denied the authenticity, the watches were seized and will be forfeited (destroyed by Customs).

If you have had your goods seized by Customs, contact seizure attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 at anytime or email attorney.dave@yahoo.com or dh@gjatradelaw.com.

$1.3 million of counterfeit currency seized in Chicago.

Image of seized currency, source: CBP.gov

Last week, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in the Chicago International Mail Facility seized a shipment from the Ukraine containing more than $1.3 million in funny money. The exporters from the Ukraine labeled the shipment of 13,957 $100 bills as “prop money”.

While many importers believe the words or marking of currency as “prop money” means they can be imported – CBP considers any counterfeit of US currency a violation of the federal law prohibiting the reproduction of currency. CBP then turned over the money to Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the U.S. Secret Service (USSS) for investigation.

In general, if CBP turns a case over to HSI and/or the USSS, then the importer is likely subject to criminal penalties instead of the usual civil penalties.

If you have had your currency seized by Customs, contact seizure attorney David Hsu by phone at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Operation Mega Flex – $8 million in counterfeit watches seized.

Counterfeit watches, sources: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release. CBP officers in Ohio seized 11 counterfeit Richard Mille watches from Hong Kong with the ultimate end user in New Orleans. See image above of the seized watches.

The seizures in Ohio and the other intellectual property rights violations seizures are part of CBP’s efforts to stop unfair Chinese trade practices and protect US businesses. This operation is known as “Operation Mega Flex and has resulted in 4,200 seizures of goods in the past 15 months”.

If you have had your goods seized by Customs, contact David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

CBP seizes counterfeit Air Pods and Apple watches.

Seized counterfeit Apple watches, source: CBP.gov

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers in Chicago inspected and seized seven boxes from Hong Kong containing 423 smart watches and 200 earphones. With suspected intellectual property seizures, CBP will send photos or samples of the items to the Electronics Center of Excellence and Expertise (Electronics CEE). The CEE will then verify with the property rights holder if the importer was authorized to use the word mark. 100% of the time the property rights holder will reply the importer of record is not authorized to import the goods and the entire shipment will be seized.

In addition to registering the “Apple”, “iPhone” with Customs, companies can also protect the shape, design, form and function of the items. For example, the photo above shows the same shape and design of an Apple Watch. CBP estimates the value of the shipment, if authentic would be approximately $204,168.

What happens after a seizure?
If you are an importer, after a seizure, CBP will send you a “Notice of Seizure”. You will then have 30 days to respond to the Notice of Seizure, if you do not – then Customs will begin forfeiture of your goods.

Contact David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com if you have received a seizure notice to discuss your options.

CBP seizes unapproved disinfectant wipes.

Image of seized disinfecting wipes, source: CBP.gov

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officers in Alabama seized over $120,000 worth of disinfecting wipes that were mislabeled and unregistered. The 843 boxes contained 20,016 bottles of disinfectant wipes with no approved markings from the FDA or EPA.

Since June of this year, CBP has seized over 120,000 COVID-19 test kits, 10 million counterfeit face masks, 20,000 chloroquine tablets and over 4,000 tablets of antibiotics.

If you have had your goods seized by Customs, contact David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Prescription medication seized by CBP.

Image of seized medication, source: CBP.gov

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Indianapolis seized multiple shipments of Zolpidem, 10 milligram tablets, a schedule IV controlled substance used as a sedative.

The packages were sent from the United Kingdom and headed to separate addresses in the US. The shipments were arriving from the United Kingdom and were all headed to separate addresses. The shipper hid the Zolpidem in coffee tins.

If you have had your goods seized by Customs and want to explore your options, contact David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Fake luxury belts seized by Customs.

Seized “Gucci” belts, source: CBP.gov

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Kentucky seized two shipments containing over 648 counterfeit belts. The above photo provided by CBP shows the belts had the Gucci logo – the shipment also included “Salvatore Ferragamo” belt buckles. If real, CBP says the belts have a retail value of $350,496.

Author’s note – CBP media releases usually go into detail about the description of the goods and the packaging or item quality that resulted in Customs questioning the authenticity of the goods. I believe Customs probably scrutinizes any shipment from Hong Kong that contains clothing or accessories.

If you have had your goods seized by Customs, give me a call, there might be something we can do to limit your legal liability. Call or text me anytime at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Fake designer jewelry seized by CBP in San Juan.

“Piguet” watch, Source: CBP.gov

Another day, another U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) counterfeit seizure – this time in San Juan, Puerto Rico. According to the CBP media release, San Juan Field Operations seized counterfeit jewelry from a shipment originating out of Hong Kong. If genuine, Customs estimated the shipment to be worth approximately $1.2 million.

CBP did not mention the copied brands, but the photo attached to the media release was labeled “Piguet”, perhaps the name found on the watch to copy the “Piaget” brand.

Author’s comments – if the image of the watch attached to the media release is indicative of the products seized, it seems like this shipment probably was not trying to copy any actual luxury brands.

I don’t wear a watch – but looking at the Piaget watches sold online – I don’t see anything closely resembling what is shown in the attached photo. Most Piaget watches I see online look like a typical watchface with dials and easy to read numbers – much different than the “diamond” covered face of the seized watch. My guess is that a manufacturer in Shenzhen created their own brand of watches and needed a name, and therefore took the “Piaget” name and changed a few letters to “Piguet” (which appears more similar to the “Peugeot” car brand.

I understand that Customs is tasked with enforcing registered marks, word marks, trademarks etc., however, is this “Piguet” watch an attempt to counterfeit a real “Piaget” watch? Or is this an instance of a manufacturer taking a brand name, and changing it. I always think back to the old Simpsons episode where Homer buys a “SORNY” TV instead of a real “SONY”.

A quick search on Alibaba shows “Reebow” branded athletic equipment, and “Hommy Tilfiger” duffel bags next to “Carsonkangaroo” branded wallets under a logo silhouette of a kangaroo not closely resembling the Kangol logo.

I think it is arguable these shipments are not counterfeits – someone (not your author) aware of a high-end luxury brand such as Piaget would not confuse a watch branded “Piguet” with a real Piaget.

If you have had your goods seized by Customs, contact David Hsu anytime by phone/text at 832-896-6288. You can also find me on Line, WeChat, WhatsApp, Telegram by the same phone number – or email me at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, would be glad to evaluate your case for free.