Did you purchase ANY merchandise on your overseas trip? Be sure to declare it.

Sample of seized goods from traveler arriving from Thailand, source: CBP.gov

According to a CBP media release, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at Dulles Airport seized consumer goods from an individual flying back into the US after a trip to Thailand.

The passenger was flying to Dulles on a flight from South Korea. When clearing Customs at Dulles, CBP officers asked her if she purchased any merchandise on her trip.

In response, she declared in writing and verbally that she did not purchase any items and was returning from Thailand with six pieces of luggage. However, when CBP performed a secondary inspection, they found and seized over 298 counterfeit items among 12 pieces of luggage belonging to the passenger. The total value of the goods, if authentic totaled over $500,000.

She stated that she returned from Thailand with six pieces of luggage, but declared, both verbally and in writing, that she did not purchase any merchandise on her trip.

She stated that she returned from Thailand with six pieces of luggage, but declared, both verbally and in writing, that she did not purchase any merchandise on her trip. However, when airline employees brought the woman’s baggage to the CBP inspection area, they examined 12 bags that were tagged to the traveler. After examining the bags, CBP found 298 pieces of clothing, hats, shoes and jewelry with marks from brand names such as Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Burberry, Prada, Gianni Versace and others.

After the seizure, experts from the Center for Excellence and Expertise determined the goods were counterfeit. Counterfeit goods were then seized by Customs.

This media release is a good reminder for travelers to:

  1. Don’t lie to CBP and never sign anything that is not truthful.
  2. If you are asked about quantity of any items or value of currency – be sure to over estimate. There is no duty and no cost to bring in currency or monetary instruments – but you must declare it.
  3. CBP likely already knows the answers to their questions before they search you and before they ask you any questions. CBP has access to passenger information and has developed profiles on passengers and certain metrics they use to determine which passenger gets secondary screening.

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

$4+ Million in Counterfeit Jewelry Seized by Customs

Seized Richard Mille watch, source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, CBP officers in Louisville seized three packages from various shippers containing watches, bracelets, earrings, rings and necklaces that appear to be counterfeit.

They didn’t specify which air mail service, but Louisville is a major hub for DHL, UPS and FedEx flights from overseas.

The first shipment from Hong Kong were headed to Canada and contained watches bearing luxury marks such as Rolex, Breitling, Omega, Hublot among others. If authentic, the goods were valued at approximately $1.1 million.

The second seizure were composed of two packages and contained counterfeit jewelry – Tommy Hilfiger necklaces, Rolex bracelets, Gucci bracelets and rings and more. This shipment, also from Hong Kong, was headed to Miami. If real, the value of the seized goods totaled $1.19 million.

Lastly, the final parcel from the UAE contained a single Richard Mille watch with an MSRP of $2.25 million if authentic.

Typically, import specialists will detain shipments to verify with the trademark holder if the goods are authentic. From the media release, it appears Customs, in this instance, already pre-determined the goods were counterfeit. In general, Customs will seize any luxury branded good from Hong Kong that is poorly packaged and manufactured with poor quality. Most likely, the importer of record for all these shipments will receive a “Notice of Seizure” in a few weeks with a 30-day deadline (from the time of the seizure) to resolve the seizure. After 30-days, the goods are forfeited and a potential civil penalty will be issued to the importer of record.

If you have received a notice of seizure or have your goods detained, contact David Hsu by phone direct/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com; DH@GJATradeLaw.com.

EMP Slot Machine Jamming Device Seized.

Image of EMP device, source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release. Officers at
the Port of Milwaukee seized a slot machine jamming device from Hong Kong. Slot machine jamming devices are prohibited by the Federal Communication Commission (FCC).

The FCC prohibits EMP devices because they emit a pulse that disrupts the machine’s electronics when within a meter range. The main reason the EMP devices are banned because the interfere with radio communications, mobile phones, and other communication devices.”

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

Counterfeit ED medication seized.

Counterfeit Viagra pills, source: CBP.gov

Since the start of 2022, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers have seized 21 shipments of improperly imported erectile dysfunction medicine such Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra through the Port of Cincinnati. For the month of January, Officers seized approximately 32,556 pills of the prescription drugs in shipments of vitamins, supplements, watches, and other medications. In addition to being in pill form, seized shipments also contained over 1,000 packets of various jellies and honey containing sildenafil – the active ingredient in Viagra.

CBP seized the goods even though they were sold as “dietary supplements”. Additionally, only 3 percent of pharmacies overseas reviewed by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy are in compliance with U.S. pharmacy laws and practice standards – highlighting the risk of purchasing drugs online.

CBP recommends people think with their mind and not their wallet when purchasing prescription medications overseas because many are made in facilities that do not meet good manufacturing practices. Also, CBP says there are few measures in place to ensure the goods are manufactured correctly and may be potentially dangerous when consumed.

If you want to import medication from overseas, contact our office before you begin shipments. Contact David Hsu by phone/text at all times to: 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

CBP seizes over $30 million in fake designer goods.

Image of seized goods, source: CBP.gov

According to a CBP media release, CBP officers at the Los Angeles/Long Beach seaport seized over 13,586 counterfeit designer products arriving from a shipment from China.

For goods suspected of being counterfeit, CBP officers will work with a Center of Excellence and Expertise (CEE) – in the instance of goods suspected to be counterfeit – CBP will work with the Consumer Products and Mass Merchandising (CPMM) CEE.

The CEE will typically send images or samples of detained merchandise to the trademark or intellectual property rights holder for verification whether the goods are authentic or not. In 99.99% of the time, the trademark holder will tell CBP/CEE the goods are not authentic.

In the instant seizure, the counterfeit goods included handbags, tote bags, shoulder bags, crossbody bags, backpacks, shirts, and pants displaying brand names such as Gucci, Chanel, Fendi, YSL and Louis Vuitton. If genuine, the seized goods would have a combined MSRP of approximately $30,473,775.

CBP officers examining a detained purse, source: CBP.gov

Typically after a seizure, CBP will issue a seizure notice to the Importer of Record. This seizure notice will be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested. If you have received a seizure notice, contact David Hsu for immediate assistance by phone or text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

$26 Million in Counterfeit Watches Seized

Image of counterfeit seized watches, source: CBP.gov

Back in mid-September, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Kentucky seized 2,168 counterfeit designer watches with a MSRP of $57.84 million.

The shipment from Hong Kong and Turkey were destined for addresses in Florida and Michigan before they were inspected, detained and seized (1/4 of all counterfeit goods seized in the US originate from Hong Kong) The seizure included 21 counterfeit “Richard Mille” watches that would have been worth $25.56 million MSRP if authentic. The $25.26 million seized is only a fraction of the average $650 million of counterfeit watches and jewelry seized per year by CBP.

If you have had your shipment seized for suspicion of being counterfeit, contact seizure attorney David Hsu by phone/text at anytime to: 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Nearly half million in counterfeit contacts seized.

Counterfeit contact lenses, source: CBP.gov

In late October, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers along with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Office of Criminal Investigation special agents and FDA consumer safety officers seized nearly half a million dollars worth of nearly 26,000 pairs of counterfeit contact lenses. Contact lenses are regulated by the FDA and CBP is the enforcement mechanism.

The CBP media release further highlighted the dangers of purchasing counterfeit goods to the American consumer. If you have had your goods seized on suspicion of being counterfeit, contact seizure attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com

$23,641 in unreported currency seized.

Image of hidden currency found in couple heading to Ghana, source: CBP.gov

According to a US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release – officers at Dulles airport seized unreported currency from a couple traveling to Ghana. While at Dulles airport, the couple declared to CBP they both had a combined $10,500. However, upon subsequent inspection, CBP officers seized $23,641 – more than double the initial claim amount.

According to the media release – the carry-on bag contained an envelope concealed behind the carry-on bag. CBP seized the currency for violations of the currency reporting laws, but did provide the couple with $641 in cash for “humanitarian relief”.

From my experience – it is a lot harder to get a return of seized property when the currency was concealed. In the instant seizure, CBP reports the cash was concealed behind the carry on bag’s liner. We also see travelers who try to place $100 bills between pages of a book or magazine – when this happens, it is a lot harder to prove to Customs the travelers were not trying to evade currency reporting guidelines.

If you have had your cash seized, contact seizure attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com. Looking forward to hearing from you.

Counterfeit Sports Championship Rings Seized.

Champ Rings
Image of counterfeit rings, source: CBP.gov

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Chicago seized a shipment from China containing counterfeit championship rings in mid-September. The shipment contained 86 rings celebrating championships from sports teams such as the Chicago Bulls, New York Yankees, St. Louis Cardinals among others.

CBP Officers and the trade experts at the Centers of Excellence and Expertise determined the rings were counterfeit because the rings were of poor quality. The MSRP of the rings, if authentic would equal approximately $2.38 million.

This shipment was just one of the over 27,599 shipments containing counterfeit goods in 2019 – in which the total value of seized goods totaled over $1.5 billion.

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

$57 million in designer watches seized by Customs.

Counterfeit watches, source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, CBP officers in Louisville, Kentucky seized a shipment last Saturday of 32 separate shipments containing counterfeit designer watches valued at $57.84 million dollars, if authentic. Some of the counterfeits were branded Rolex and Richard Mille.

The 32 separate shipments contained 2,168 watches that were determined to be counterfeit by CBP’s experts at the various CEE departments. The watches were from Hong Kong where approximately 25% of the counterfeit goods seized originate.

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