CBP issues detention order on clothing made from prison labor.

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Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Last week, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued a Withhold Release Order (WRO) against garments produced by the “Hero Vast Group”. According to Customs, the Hero Vast Group includes entities such as: Shanghai Hero Vast International Trading Co., Ltd.; Henan Hero Vast Garment Co., Ltd.; Yuexi Hero Vast Garment Co., Ltd.; Ying Han International Co., Ltd.; and Hero Vast Canada Inc.

Under 19 USC 1307, you cannot import merchandise mined, manufactured, or produced through use of forced labor such as child labor, convict labor or through indentured labor.

CBP believes the Hero Vast Group is violation 19 USC 1307 by the use of prison labor to produce garments.

If you are subject to a withhold release order and your goods are detained, contact David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com. Our office may be able to

Wigs and books seized for containing counterfeit currency.

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Image of wigs containing concealed cash, source: cbp.gov

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Dallas Fort Worth port of entry found $63,000 in counterfeit currency in separate shipments from Nigeria. One shipment contained soft cover books, that upon further inspection yielded currency taped to the pages of the books. The other shipment contained wigs and hair. Upon examination, CBP officers opened the package and found currency in $50 and $100 denominations.

The media release says the counterfeit currency was turned over to the Secret Service.

Funny Money

Image of $100 bills taped to the inside of pages, source: cbp.gov

In general, currency seizures are handled by CBP. In general if your currency case is referred to Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), this means Customs likely believes your seized currency is related to something criminal. If your currency seizure case is referred to the United States Secret Service (USSS), it means your currency is suspected to be counterfeit.

If your currency has been seized by CBP, HSI or the USSS, then contact David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

35 pounds of counterfeit Xanax seized by Customs.

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Image of seized Xanax, source: CBP.gov

Last week, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in the Champlain Port of Entry seized 35 pounds of counterfeit Xanax among 27 shipments.

The shipments were unlabeled pills but resembled the anxiety drug. Afterwards, CBP sent the pills for testing and were determined to contain the properties of Xanax. As Xanax is a schedule 4 controlled substance and cannot be shipped to the US without a prescription.

If you have had your shipment seized, contact David Hsu for a free consultation by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

COVID-19 test kits seized by Chicago Customs and Border Protection.

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Seized test kits, source: CBP.gov

Since the start of the pandemic and the nationwide shutdown, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers have seized an increased number of unapproved or ocunterfeit COVID-19 tests. For example, at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, the international mail facility has seized 11 shipments containing a total of 1,147 test kits. The seized test kits have a value of $10,847 and most of the test kits came from England.

CBP warns the public of the health risks of using unapproved and counterfeit safety equipment. CBP advises the public to go to medical professionals in the US for testing instead of relying on potentially dangerous home testing kits.

According to CBP, the test kits were manifested as “Test Kit Not Restricted” and upon further examination Customs found packages labeled “COVID-19 Rapid Test Device”. As the devises are not FDA approved, they were seized and likely turned over to the FDA to be destroyed.

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

Counterfeit driver’s licenses continue to be imported (and seized).

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Image of seized ID’s, source: CBP.gov

In the past 18, Dallas CBP officers seized over 2000 counterfeit driver’s licenses from overseas, with 900 of the fake ID’s seized in the past 6 months. Most of the fake ID’s are hidden in contents of packages within larger items in the package. In an attempt to discourage the purchase of fake ID’s overseas, CBP officers noted that providing personal information to counterfeiters also carry a risk of the peron’s identity personal information being shared. From the media release, local law enforcement contacted the purchasers of the counterfeit ID cards and warned them of the risks of counterfeiters.

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In situations like this, the importer of record will not be getting these cards released and the case will likely be referred to HSI as part of a potential criminal case.

If you or someone you know receives a letter from CBP or Homeland Security Investigation, contact experienced customs attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.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.

Counterfeit Goods Seizure Act of 2019.

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Photo by Florian Köppen on Pexels.com

In early December 2019, the Counterfeit Goods Seizure Act of 2019 was introduced in the U.S. Senate to allow U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to enforce design patents at the border.

Currently, Customs has the power to enforce only copyrights and trademarks that have been previously recorded with Customs under Section 1595a(c)(2)(C) of Title 19 of the U.S. Code.

The new bill amends amending 19 U.S.C. § 1595a(c)(2)(C) to allow Customs discretionary power to seize and detain imported goods that infringe upon a recorded U.S. design patent.

The reason for this bill is because counterfeiters are capable of producing nearly 1 to 1 replicas of goods that avoid seizure by Customs because the counterfeit goods do not include the infringing trademark.

For example, in 2018, counterfeiters imported over $70 million in fake Nike shoes similar to the Air Jordan line and avoided customs by not including the trademarked logos – not surprisingly, Nike is one prominent supporter of the new bill.

If the bill passes, future counterfeit Air Jordan shoes omitting any trademarked labels would be subject to seizure as Customs would now be able to enforce design patents.

If you have had a seizure for suspected violations of intellectual property or 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.

Customs seizes $32,000 in currency from travelers.

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Image of seized unreported currency, source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection media release, CBP officers working at the San Antonio International Airport carried out 2 seizures of currency currency from travelers who under reported the amount of currency they were carrying.

In the first seizure, CBP officers stopped a pair of travelers arriving from Mexico. The travelers individually reported they were carrying less than $10,000, but upon subsequent questioning by CBP, admitted they divided the money amongst each other to get below the $10,000 threshold. This agreement among parties to divide the money amongst themselves is known as “structuring” in the eyes of Customs. The total amount seized from the two travelers totaled $14,807.

Similarly, in the second seizure, 2 Mexican nationals were detained and questioned regarding the amount of currency they were carrying. Both individuals reported carrying below the $10,000 threshold amount, however, they both admitted they divided the currency before boarding the flight. The combined amount of currency totaled $17,200.

In short, the two take aways are to always report how much currency you are carrying and to answer all questions by CBP truthfully.

Other tips to avoid currency seizures:

  1. Always declare any amounts you have.
  2. Always declare any currency (regardless of denomination), monetary instruments such as checks, cashier’s checks, money orders, etc.
  3. If you are traveling in a group, count the group as one.

While not mentioned, I believe the travelers were alerted to CBP by trained dogs and then the travelers were followed on camera prior to the flight.

“Travelers are provided multiple opportunities to mak

If you or someone you know have had their hard earned currency seized by Customs, contact experienced currency seizure attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

CBP prohibits invasive pests from importation to the US.

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Image of invasive pests, source: CBP.gov

As we enter the holiday season, Agriculture Specialists with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) were busy conducting searches of trucks containing Christmas tree and greenery shipments. Over 200 trucks and 170,000 plant units were inspected, resulting in the interception of more than 350 invasive pests. Two of the invasive pests can be seen in the photo above.

Mid-November to early-December are the busiest times for the importation of trees and greenery used around the holidays. Without the help of CBP Agriculture Specialists, some of those pests may have arrived to certain parts of the US where they do not have any natural predators, resulting in millions of dollars in damage and the loss of large numbers of trees.

Typically if your imported items contain invasive pests, the items will be destroyed and not allowed into the stream of commerce. Our clients frequently encounter invasive pests (such as the wood-boring wasp) and their larve in wood packaging materials (WPM) used in the shipment of breakbulk and other containerized shipping to the US.

If you or anyone you know has had an invasive pest issue with WPM or your shipment is being denied entry into the US due to invasive pests, contact experienced WPM attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

$72,000 in undeclared currency seized from traveler.

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Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) press release, CBP officers at Orlando International Airport (MCO) seized over $72,000 in currency from a traveler who failed to declare the entire amount of the currency they were carrying.

The traveler initially said they were only in possession of $15,000.00. CBP officers then presented the traveler with a Fincen form in which the traveler wrote the amount of $51,000. After further inspection, CBP officers discovered additional bundles of cash inside a backpack – leading to a seizure of $72,000 in currency.

If you are ever presented with a Treasury Department Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) form, you must write down the accurate amount of currency you are carrying (including checks, money orders, foreign currency and other monetary instruments).

Violations of the reporting requirements typically lead to a seizure of the currency and may lead to involvement by HSI – resulting in your arrest. If you have had your currency seized by CBP, contact experienced currency seizure attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.