Counterfeit Juul pods seized by CBP.

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Seized Juul pods. Source: US CBP

Earlier this week, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Philadelphia reported a seizure of more than 1,152 counterfeit Juul pods, three chargers and a Juul device from overseas.

According to the CBP, the description of the item was “plastic pipe sample” from China. Upon inspection, CBP found 36 cartons of Juul pods suspected to be counterfeit.

Working with CBP’s Consumer Products and Mass Merchandising Centers for Excellence and Expertise, officers verified the merchandise were counterfeits through the trademark holders.

CBP claims the merchandise has a MSRP of $4,700 if authentic. The rest of the media release reminds the public of the danger posed by unregulated manufacturing facilities that may result in products that are hazardous to the public.

If you or someone you know has had a customs seizure, contact experienced customs attorney David Hsu for information on how we may be able to get your goods released. Call or text 832-896-6288 or email attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

$270,000 worth of counterfeit luxury hats seized by Customs.

Images of the seized hats. Source: CBP media release website.

According to a Customs media release, Dulles Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized 450 counterfeit hats worth about $207,000 if they were the genuine articles. The hats were seized as they arrived from Washington Dulles International airport destined for US addresses.

The shipment of hats contained brands such as Gucci, Chanel, LV, Supreme, Adidas and Louis Vuitton.

If you have had a seizure of goods suspected of being counterfeit, contact experienced customs seizure attorney David Hsu at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, or text/call 832.896.6288.

CBP seizes $170k in smuggled cash.

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Image of seized cash in bundles, hidden in tailgate. Source: CBP media relations website.

Earlier this month, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reported a seizure of $170,000 dollars in money hidden in the tailgate of a pick-up truck.

According to the media release, the currency was wrapped in black tape and hidden within the tailgate of the truck.

CBP seized the money and the driver and passenger were placed into custody by Homeland Security Investigation special agents.


I’ve handled countless currency seizures and here are some answers to currency seizure questions you may or may not have:

Can they get the seized money back?
Most likely not – (1) because of the method taken to conceal the money, also, (2) the case was turned over to HSI instead of with CBP. If the case stayed with CBP, then they are dealing with FP&F. If a case is with HSI, then there’s likely no civil seizure petition method.

What do you have to show to get your seized money back?
Short version – you need to show legitimate source and use of funds. Every case is different, call David Hsu to discuss yours – 832.896.6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Can you import refurbished cell phones?

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Photo by Tracy Le Blanc on Pexels.com

I get asked this question a lot – and the answer is yes you can. However, cell phones are frequently detained and seized by Customs.

Why are imported refurbished phones detained or seized?
Customs enforces the intellectual property and trademarks of any manufacturer or holder of intellectual property. Apple and Samsung have filed their trademarks and word marks with Customs and CBP may seize your phones (and batteries if they are branded Samsung).

I thought there was an exception for counterfeit goods?
I previously posted on my blog about the counterfeit exception for 1 item. However, that exception only applies if it is carried on you, it will not apply if the counterfeit item is sent by mail.

But my goods are genuine iPhones, why are they still seized?
When suspected counterfeit goods are seized – CBP will take a photo and send to Apple, Samsung (or other property rights holder). The trademark holder will more likely than not tell CBP the phone is counterfeit. From my experience, I have never had any trademark holder agree that the phone is authentic.

How do I know if my cell phone shipment is seized?
Customs will send you a Notice of Seizure signed by the Fines, Penalties and Forfeiture officer of the port where your phones were seized. You have 30 days from the day of the letter to respond. Please note the 30 days is not from the day you receive the notice.

What if I don’t respond to the seizure notice?
If you do nothing, then the goods will be forfeited after the response date. Forfeited means destroyed. Customs may then issue you a civil penalty based on the value of the phones. The value will be retail and not reflect what you paid wholesale or your actual cost. The valuation of the shipment is important because that value is used to determine civil penalties.

I have more questions!
Call David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com. There are some things we can do and time is of the essence – call now, no cost or obligation.

Customs seizes $4.4 million in counterfeit products in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

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Images of the seized items. Source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) news release – Customs agents in Puerto Rico seized counterfeit products with an estimated msrp of $15 million dollars with an actual purchase price of $4.4 million.

In another seizure, CBP officers conducted a 6-day operation in January where they seized 73 packages with intellectual property rights violations totaling $1.8 million.

In a 6-day special operation this January, CBP officers intercepted 73 packages with IPR violations valued at an estimated MSRP of $1. 8 million.

The seized items included counterfeit watches, jewelry, bags, clothing, sunglasses and featured luxury brands such as Pandora, Tous, Nike, Rolex, Hublot, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, etc.

The rest of the news releases restates the danger of using and buying counterfeit goods and the impact of counterfeit goods on business revenue while also saying the proceeds from counterfeit purchases fund illicit businesses.

If you have a customs seizure for alleged IPR violations, contact experienced seizure attorney David Hsu at attorney.dave@yahoo.com or call/text: 832-896-6288.

CBP Officers Seize $1.0 million in currency in Juarez-Lincoln Bridge.

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Screengrab of the seized currency from the CBP website.

According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, CBP officers at the Juarez-Lincoln Bridge seized approximately $1.0 million in unreported currency hidden inside a passenger vehicle during an outbound examination.

A 2010 Nissan Maxima was driven by a female U.S. Citizen and selected for examination. CBP officers initially used a non-intrusive imaging system scan followed up by a physical examination of the vehicle where they found 53 bundles containing a total of $988,550 in unreported currency within the vehicle.

CBP officers seized the currency and arrested the driver then turned the case over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations for further investigation.

If you or someone you know has had their hard-earned cash seized by Customs or ICE-HSI, contact experienced seizure attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288. Call 24-hours or email attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

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 attorney.dave@yahoo.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.

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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 attorney.dave@yahoo.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 attorney.dave@yahoo.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.

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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 attorney.dave@yahoo.com.