CBP Returns artifacts to Cyprus Government

BFO Cyprus Repat48L2 021420

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.

pexels-photo-3379903

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.

SAT Currency Seizure 2

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.

CHM Invasive Pests Insects.jpg

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.

money pink coins pig

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.

Man pleads guilty in multi-million dollar counterfeit cellphone scheme.

pexels-photo-699122.jpeg

Photo by Tyler Lastovich on Pexels.com

According to CBS 2 news in Boise, Idaho – a man in Boise pleased guilty to trafficking in counterfeit cellphones and accessories. Artur Pupko, age 28, pleaded guilty to selling counterfeit cellphones and cellphone accessories on Amazon and eBay.
According to court documents, Pupko would buy bulk products from China, then repackage the products and claiming them as new and genuine. Pupko may face up to 10 years in prison and a $5 million dollar fine. Sentencing will occur on December 17, 2019.
If you have had your goods seized by Customs and are facing criminal or civil penalties, contact experienced seizure attorney David Hsu by text/call at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

Homeland Security records largest counterfeit seizure ever – $500 million.

chanel paris eua de parfum bottle

Photo by Jess Watters on Pexels.com

A little bit of background – Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) is a component of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). ICE is a federal agency under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and responsible for enforcing over 400 federal statutes within the United States.

Last Thursday (August 16th, 2018) was the culmination of a six year investigation into the importation and sale of fake luxury goods – ending with HSI officials reported seizing enough counterfeit luxury bags and belts to fill 22 shipping containers and the arrest of 33 people, all of Chinese descent.

HSI reported the seized goods included popular luxury brands “including Gucci, Tory Burch, Hermes, Coach, Burberry, Michael Kors and Louis Vuitton” along with knockoff Chanel perfume.

With an estimated loss in retail value of nearly $500 million, this seizure is the largest counterfeit seizure in history, besting the 2012 seizure of $325 million worth of fake goods.

If you have had problems with CBP seizing goods due to alleged counterfeit or trademark violations, call experienced trade and customs attorney David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Just in time for Easter – CBP reminds travelers of their Holiday Easter Egg regulations.

pexels-photo-356330.jpeg

With Easter Sunday this week, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reminded travelers that Cascarones (confetti-filled eggshells) are limited to 12 per passenger. The shells may be decorated, etched, or painted, but they must be clean, dry and free of any egg residue.

Cascarones are a restricted commodity by CBP in an effort to reduce the spread of  Newcastle Disease and Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) through contaminated eggshells. HPAI is a contagious diseases fatal to bird species and effects their respiratory, nervous and digestive systems. The virus infects chickens, turkeys, ducks, partridges, pheasants, quail, pigeons, and ostriches.

As Mexico is affected with Newcastle Disease and Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), fresh eggs, raw chicken and live birds or poultry from Mexico are prohibited from entry to the US.

If you or anyone you know has any customs or trade law issues, contact experienced trade law attorney David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Hope everyone has a Happy Easter!

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Seize Over 6 Million Counterfeit Cigarettes.

pexels-photo-57528.jpeg

In mid March of 2018, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers along with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) commercial fraud agents seized six million counterfeit cigarettes during a warehouse inspection.

The estimated retail price is $1.1 million. CBP import specialists with the Agriculture and Prepared Products Center of Excellence and Expertise (CEE) in Miami reviewed 600 boxes of counterfeit cigarettes and found multiple trade name protection and trafficking counterfeit goods violations.

CBP cites many dangers to these counterfeit cigarettes – first criminal organizations profit from the sale of counterfeit goods and second, counterfeit cigarettes pose a greater public health risk. CBP also indicates that trademark owners are also hurt and the government also is deprived of tax revenue.

If you or someone you know has had counterfeit cigarettes or any other goods seized by Customs for suspected IP violations or trademark violations – contact experienced Customs attorney David Hsu. Customs holds importers liable for both civil penalties and criminal prosecution. Call 832-896-6288 or e-mail attorney.dave@yahoo.com for immediate assistance.

CBP seizes ancient artifacts for repatriation.

pexels-photo-122164.jpeg

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) news release, CBP officers at Miami International Airport (MIA) seized two shipments containing suspected ancient artifacts.

The first shipment from the United Kingdom was a wooden cargo container with a manifest indicating a value of $252,000. When CBP opened the container they found a helmet appearing to be an ancient artifact. An expert appraiser determined the helmet to be an authentic “Corinthian Helmet” dating back to 100-500 B.C.

The second seizure was from El Salvador containing 13 artifacts of Mayan origin.

While not frequently mentioned in the press, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is responsible for investigating the loss or looting of cultural heritage properties and returning them to their country of origin. CBP works with ICE to ensure the repatriation rules are followed.

If you or someone you know has had artifacts seized, call experienced customs seizure attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288, or by email at: attorney.dave@yahoo.com for a free consultation.