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.

Highlights from CBP’s FY2017 Trade and Travel Report.

CBP FY2017 Trade Travel Report

Screenshot of the FY2017 CBP Trade and Travel Report

CBP released their “Trade and Travel” fiscal year 2017 report on February 13, 2018 and here are a few highlights from the report:

1. CBP officers processed more than 397.2 million travelers at the air, land, and sea ports of entry in 2017
2. Arriving air travelers has increased each year since FY2009 with 4.2 percent more air arrivals over FY2016
3. CBP collected $40.1 billion in duties, taxes and fees in FY2017
4. Automated processing at airports has increased from 3.3% in FY2013 to over 50% in FY2017
5. CBP processed $2.39 trillion in imports
6. CBP processed 33.2 million entries and more than 28.5 million cargo containers
7. Shipments violating intellectual property rights increased by 8% in FY2017 to 34,143 seizures
8. Establishment of the E-Commerce and Small Business Branch within the Office of Trade in FY2017

The full text of the report can be found here.

If you have any import, export, customs or trade law questions, contact David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com

CBP seizes fake perfume valued over $31 million.

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In the past few months, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers and import specialists in the seaport at Los Angeles have seized over 475,000 bottles of imported perfume bearing counterfeit trademarks. While the cost of the counterfeit perfumes may be low, if genuine, CBP estimates the MSRP of the seized perfumes to retail over $31 million.

CBP’s fiscal year starts October 1, 2017 and since then, CBP officials in Los Angeles have seized 11 shipments with suspected counterfeit marks along with confusingly similar fragrances. As you are aware, CBP enforces the trademarks for companies registered with CBP. The seizues included violations of trademarks belonging to over 34 perfume brands.

According to the CBP news release, the “counterfeit brands included Giorgio Armani, Burberry, Calvin Klein, Chanel, Coach, Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Guess, Hugo Boss, Lacoste, Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren, Versace, Victoria Secret, and Perry Ellis among others.”

As a general rule, if you purchase perfume at prices “too good to be true”, it is likely the item is counterfeit. The news release indicates the counterfeit perfumes were packaged in boxes and colors resembling the genuine items with fake country of origin markings (“Made in France”) even though the port of origin was China.

CBP is especially vigilent in seizing suspected counterfeit perfumes as these items are placed on the skin and absorbed by the body – counterfeit perfumes may be composed of chemicals harmful to the body and may be made and sold without any product testing.

In FY 2016, CBP seized over $1.4 billion worth of counterfeit goods – if you have had your imports seized and want to speak to an experienced attorney, call David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com for immediate assistance.

What is a Customs “Notice of Seizure and Intent to Forfeit (CAFRA)”?

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After your property is seized at an airport, border crossing or any of the other 400 ports of entry into the United States, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will send you a “Notice of Seizure and Intent to Forfeit (CAFRA)” by certified mail, return receipt requested to the address you provided to CBP at the time of the seizure.

DHS and CBP are required by law to send you the notice under 19 USC 1607 and 19 CFR 162.45. The notice tells you that DHS has seized the items and will intend to “forfeit and sell, or otherwise dispose of according to law”. The final disposition of your seized property ultimately depends on the item seized.

If you do not receive a notice by mail, you can still file a claim within 30 days from the date of the publication of the CBP “Official Notification” posted on the forfeiture.gov website.

If you have had currency, suspected trademarked goods, or any other property seized by Customs, call David Hsu, an experienced customs and trade law attorney who works for you to get your hard earned property and money back. Call or email anytime, 832-896-6288, dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

 

Dulles CBP seizes $11k from couple traveling to Vietnam.

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According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) news release, CBP officers seized $11,882 from a couple traveling out of Dulles on February 6, 2018.

During inspections of travelers leaving the US, CBP stopped a couple boarding a flight to Vietnam. When stopped by CBP, the couple initially told CBP they had $4,000. CBP officers then read the reporting requirements to the travelers who then claimed they possessed $7,000. Upon further questioning, the travelers wrote down they had $9,000. After searching the traveler’s belongings, CBP found additional currency in the male passenger’s pants and and a purse belonging to the female traveler. A total of $11,882 was seized by CBP.

CBP does not limit how much money travelers can carry, however, CBP does require reporting of any currency or monetary instruments totaling $10,000 or more. A common misconception we hear at our law office is that the amount of money being carried will somehow be subject to a tax, which is not true.

As the couple was traveling to Vietnam at the start of February, I believe the large amount of cash was to be used during the celebration of Tet which falls on Friday, February 16th this year. Hopefully the couple will return in time to respond to the seizure notice that will inevitably be mailed to their address on file.

If your hard-earned money was taken as part of the $289,000 seized on average by CBP daily,  call David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com, we are here for you!

 

 

 

Importing Refurbished Cell Phones and Customs Seizures.

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Today’s blog post is in response to our firm seeing an increase in the number of importers having their Samsung or Apple phones seized by Customs.

Typically, our client is a company in the United States that purchases used Apple iPhones or Samsung Galaxy phones from the US. The used phones vary anywhere from A to C stock and may have broken screens, defective home buttons, scratched, dented or damaged housing or cracked camera lens. Some phones are store demos with burn-in on the screens, customer returns or old, new stock. The phones are packaged and then sent to China for repair and refurbishing. The fixed phones are then sent back to the US for sale through wholesalers and distributors.

However, as the phones are shipped back to the company in the US, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) detains shipments to review whether or not the cell phones violate any intellectual property rights (IPR).

CBP will first detain the phones and has 30-days to speak to the trademark or IPR holder to determine the authenticity of the trademark or IPR. The trademark could be the “Samsung” logo, the “Apple” logo or even the “iPhone” trademark printed in text on the back of the phones. More often than not, the shipped phones change from being “detained” to being “seized”.

The majority of the seizures are due to trademarks found on the rear housing of the phones. As most importers cannot provide authorization by the trademark or IPR holder the right to use the mark, CBP considers the importer phones to be counterfeit and are then subsequently seized.

If you have had your refurbished iPhone or Samsung phone seized by Customs, call experienced cell phone seizure attorney David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com. There are certain time limitations after a seizure has occurred so contact David Hsu today.

CBP agriculture specialists intercept pest found in used vehicles from Germany.

Agriculture

Photo of the moth from the CBP media release.

The U.S Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Field Operations (OFO) agriculture specialists in Florida found a potentially destructive pest while inspecting a shipment of used vehicles from Germany.

This is the first time CBP has intercepted this pest in the United States. The pest found was the Tortricidae moth, also commonly known as the tortrix moth or leafroller moth.

CBP considers the Tortricidae moth to be a serious pest because the moth often feeds on fruits of apple and peach crops.

This interception was just one of the tens of thousands of actional pests seized by CBP agriculture specialists.

If Customs has seized any of your imports or you received a letter from any of the US agencies regarding seized property, call David Hsu, we work hard to get you your items back, 832.896.6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com

Boston CBP Officers find $10k in cash sewn into arriving passenger’s pants.

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According to a CBP Public Affairs media release – on January 18, 2018, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at Logan International Airport seized more than $29,000 in undeclared currency from a traveler arriving on a flight from Israel.

The traveler (a U.S. Citizen), initially told CBP he was carrying $7,000 for him and an additional $7,000 for a friend. A subsequent baggage examination resulted in a finding of about $18,000 total. Upon even further inspection (which will always happen), CBP found an additional $10,000 sewn into the pockets of the pants belonging to the traveler.

As a general rule, travelers can carry as much cash and other forms of currency into and out of the United States as long as all amounts greater than $10,000 are reported on a U.S. Treasury Department financial form (FinCen 105 form).

Unfortunately for this traveler, how the money was concealed and the subsequent seizure means he will have to petition CBP to get back his money.

If you or anyone you know has had currency seized at an airport, seaport, or any other port of entry by CBP, call David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or email dhsu@givensjohnston.com for immediate assistance. Certain time limitations apply so call 832.896.6288 for a free consultation and to start getting your money back.

 

Flying back to the US after the holidays? Be wary of these items that are prohibited from entering the U.S.

pexels-photo-123013.jpegTraveling overseas is a great opportunity to take a break from work, visit family, or just visit and explore what the world has to offer.

After a nice trip abroad, it is easy to forget about the many prohibited items U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) does not allow to enter the US. Here’s a summary of some prohibited items from CBP’s most recent revisions as of December 8, 2017:

Please note, that all passengers carrying fruit, vegetables, meat and/or poultry products still must declare these products to CBP for inspection – regardless whether or not it is allowed into the US.

Prohibited:
1. Muraya or “orange jasmine” is used in the construction of alters. Orange jasmine greenery may carry the Asian Citrus Psyllid, an insect that carries citrus greening disease.
2. Oranges, Grapefruit, Tangerines, Sour Oranges, Sweet Limes, Guavas, Mangoes, Peaches, Pomegranates from Mexico are prohibited.
3. Most fruits from outside the US.
4. Cut flowers with berries.
5. Kinder eggs, they pose a choking hazard and are illegal for consumption in the US.
6. Moon cakes containing egg, beef, poultry or pork NOT from Canada. If CBP officer can not confirm the filling of a non-Canadian mooncake, it may be denied entry.

Allowed:
1. Fruit from Canada with proof of origin.
2. Cut flowers (does not include dried, bleached, dyed, or treated plants, filler, greenery, fern fronds.
3. Ethrogs, also known as Citrus medica is allowed after inspection. Travelers will need to open the container and unwrap it. In the event insect stings or pests are found, the ehtrog will be prohibited from entering the US.
4. Twigs of myrtle and palm fronds require inspection.
5. Gift baskets may be allowed after inspection by FDA, CBP and USPS (if mailed)
6. Baked goods (bread, cereal, crackers, cakes).
7. Moon cakes with verified Canadian origin.

Safe travels everyone! If you or anyone you know has had property or currency seized by CBP, give us a call for a free consultation at 832.896.6288 or dhsu@givensjohnston.com

CBP seizes $110,000 in money from travelers going to Taiwan.

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According to a CBP Public Affairs release on December 12, 2017, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston (IAH) seized over $110,000 USD from a couple flying from Houston (IAH) to Taipei (TPE).

International travelers leaving or entering the US can carry an unlimited amount of money must report any currency (checks, cash, money orders, etc.) in any denomination (USD, Euro, Yen, RMB, NTD, etc.) over $10,000.

The travelers subject of the December 12th press release reported $50,000 to CBP but a subsequent search resulted in a total finding of $110,204. The money was seized by CBP and the travelers departed to Taiwan.

The press release also indicates that CBP seizes approximately $289,609 in undeclared or illicit currency each day at the various air, land, and sea ports of entry into the United States.

If you or anyone you know has had money seized at any airport, border crossing or seaport while entering or leaving the US, contact David Hsu at 713.932.1540 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com for a free consultation.