US Customs seizes Khat at Dulles Int’l airport.

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Screenshot of the seized khat. Credit: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection press release, CBP officers at Dulles International Airport seized 78 pounds of khat from Nigeria.

Khat is a green leafy plant grown in East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula and chewed to create a stimulant effect. Since 1980, the WHO has considered khat as a drug of abuse. The active ingredient in khat is a psychoactive component called “cathinone”. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifieds cathinone as a schedule 1 drug.

CBP officers have seized nearly a ton of Khat since the start of the year.

If you or anyone you know has had items detained or seized by  customs, contact experienced seizure attorney David Hsu at dhsu@givensjohnston.com or by phone at 832-896-6288. There are certain deadlines that Customs requires you to follow – call today!

CBP and searching your electronic devices.

person taking picture of people in the shed

Photo by Oleg Magni on Pexels.com

According to an Associated Press article, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers searching electronic devices of travelers more often.

A local watchdog report made available today indicated there were 29,000 devices searched in 2017, up from the 18,400 the year before. CBP officials claim the travelers searched represent less than 1 percent of all travelers (ie, 18,400 searches out of 390 million travelers).

In general, travelers are required to hand over their electronic devices for inspection if they are referred to secondary inspection. Secondary inspection is after primary inspection (travel documents and passports). During secondary inspection, CBP may search phones, thumb drives, and computers.

A Office of the Inspector General for Homeland Security report found that some searches were not properly documented or conducted – for example, devices were not taken offline before hand. In general, CBP cannot access your information that is on a cloud network.

Will update again if/when CBP publishes a review process for searching electronic devices of travelers.

If you or anyone you know has had an item detained or seized by CBP, contact experienced trade and customs attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

Fake Super Bowl rings seized by CBP.

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Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

According to a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, CBP agents in Philadelphia seize fake Super Bowl rings worth $1 million dollars if authentic.

I did a quick search and found listings for Super Bowl rings ranging in price from $9.99 to $99.99 on alibaba.com. The CBP media release claims authorized replicas retail from around $10,000, but I did not seem to find a link to purchase authorized replicas.

CBP seized the 108 counterfeit rings because they contain trademarks belonging to the National Football League. CBP noted the poor craftsmanship of the rings from Hong Kong and the NFL confirmed the rings to be counterfeit.

If you have had property seized by Customs, contact David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com, there may be something we can do to protect you from further civil or criminal liability.

CBP seizes $10 million in counterfeit luxury watches.

classic design elegant fashion

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

This past Thursday (June 28th), Philadelphia U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized 699 luxury watches with a MSRP of nearly $10 million (if authentic).

The shipment was from Hong Kong, China and labeled as “lithium batteries”. Upon inspection, CBP officers found watches bearing luxury watch names such as: Tous, Hublot, Piguet, Panerai, and Fossil among others.

CBP probably questioned the shipment as luxury watches that are authentic are usually not sent from Hong Kong. In the media release, CBP officers also claimed the watch quality and packaging was poor – a typical dead give away for counterfeit goods.

If you have had any good seized by CBP on suspicion of being counterfeit, there are things we can do – call David Hsu, experienced trade and customs attorney for a free consultation and the next steps: 832.896.6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

Philadelpha CBP seize 100 counterfeit Yeti mugs.

Yeti Screengrab

Screengrab of the Yeti.com website.

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release on June 19th, CBP officers in Philadelphia seized 100 counterfeit mugs branded with the name of the poular cooler company Yeti.

The items were shipped from Hong Kong, China in April and labeled “fishing reel iron products”. CBP noted the “poor packaging” and “substandard quality” and detained the shipment.

After a shipment is detained, Customs will usually send a sample or photos to the trademark/word mark holder to verify authenticity of the mark. In this case, Yeti likely replied and told CBP the items were counterfeit.

In the event the trademark holder notifies CBP of the unauthorized use of a registered mark, CBP will seize the items and send a “Notice of Seizure” to the importer of record.

Philadelphia CBP has been busy with five counterfeit seizures in the past 3 months. Prior seizures included counterfeit jewelry and luxury watches.

If you have had your shipments seized by Customs, and you receive a “Notice of Seizure”, you should take action – call experienced seizure attorney, David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by  email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com. CBP seizures do not just go away and you may expose yourself and your company to personal, criminal and civil liability – call today!

 

 

 

 

CBP seizes prohibited ivory products in Seattle.

carved_tusk

CBP agriculture specialists at Sea-Tac
found ivory in the luggage of a couple
arriving from the Philippines on May 11. Photo Credit: CBP

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection media release dated May 22nd, Agriculture Specialists at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport discovered a variety of prohibited ivory products (carved tusks) in the luggage of a husband and wife who arrived on a flight from the Philippines on May 11.

An x-ray and search of the traveler’s belongings revealed 34 pieces of carved elephant ivory, two carved hippopotamus tusks and two carved warthog tusks. The agriculture specialists contacted inspectors from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, who inspected and seized the items. The couple also received a $500 fine for transporting the items in violation of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora).

If you or anyone you know has had a CBP seizure, contact experienced trade attorney, David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

CBP seizes more than $1.5 million in counterfeit hangbags and belts.

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Credit: CBP.gov. CBP officers at the Port of Tacoma
seized merchandise that violated the
trademark rights of Chanel, Luis Vuitton,
Calvin Klein, Gucci and Fendi.

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) release, the Port of Tacoma seized counterfeit handbags and belts, among other high-end items totaling more than $1.5 million.

Without going into details, the press release indicated the counterfeit items were “of poor quality and violated the trademark rights of Chanel, Luis Vuitton, Calvin Klein, Gucci and Fendi”.

CBP enforces over 500 U.S. trade laws and regulations (such as trademark violations of the handbags) for the over 47 federal agencies with a goal of “protecting the U.S. economy and its consumers from harmful imports and unfair trade practices”.

If you or someone you know had their imports seized due to CBP’s belief the items are counterfeit, contact experienced trade and customs attorney David Hsu, 832.896.6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com .

Colorado woman fined $500 by Customs for not declaring an apple.

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As has widely been reported, Colorado resident Crystal Tadlock was catching a connecting flight in Minnesota back to Colorado from a trip to France when CBP in Minnesota stopped her and fined her for not declaring an apple. At the time, CBP indicated they would fine her $500 for failure to declare the apple. Crystal claims she packed the apple (served as part of the in-flight meal service) in her carry-on and forgot about it until she was clearing Customs.

Customs has discretion to fine up to a $1,000 penalty for first time offenses of bringing in prohibited agricultural products and Crystal will likely receive a notice in her mail in about 30 days. Not sure if Crystal is a frequent traveler, however the other consequence of this seizure will be the loss of Global Entry Status.

If you or someone you know has had a Customs seizure and you have received a penalty notice from Customs – call experienced Customs attorney David Hsu for immediate help – 832.896.6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

CBP in Georgia intercept “first-in-port” insects.

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Mottled tortoise beetle (Image via Wikipedia)

U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) officers at the Port of Savannah intercepted the pigeon tick, straight-snouted weevil and tortoise beetle in containers destined for Georgia.

These insects are known as “first-in-port” because the pests have never been encountered at a specific port of entry.

In January, CBP agriculture specialists at the Port of Savannah inspected tile and stone on shipments arriving from Turkey and Italy and discovered these potentially harmful insects.

This inspection was just one of the over 3.85 million twenty-foot container equivalent units of cargo processed yearly by the Port of Savannah, the second-largest on the East Coast.

If your imports have been seized due to containing pests, call experienced Customs attorney David Hsu for immediate assistance, 832-896-6288, or by email at: dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

CBP seizes ancient artifacts for repatriation.

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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: dhsu@givensjohnston.com for a free consultation.