72,000 counterfeit vaping pods seized.

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Photo by Wildan Zainul Faki on Pexels.com

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protections (CBP) media release, CBP officers seized over 72,000 counterfeit disposable flavored pods from Hong Kong mimicking the “Pop” brand Blue Razz Disposable Vaping Devices. If authentic, the value of the pod packets would be valued over $1.1 million.

No surprise on this seizure of vaping pods given the prior deaths of young individuals from vaping. The FDA is working to lower the number of illnesses and deaths related to vaping and no surprise Customs would seize these goods. CBP and FDA believe counterfeit pod vaping ingredients may not meet the stringent regulations set by the US FDA, resulting in a further increase in illnesses and death.

If you have had your good seized by Customs and you have received a seizure notice, contact experienced seizure attorney David Hsu to discuss your options. Contact David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

CBP revoke withhold release order (WRO) on disposable rubber gloves.

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According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection media release, yesterday, CBP revoked a Withhold Release Order (WRO) for rubber gloves imported by WRP Asia Pacific Sdn. Bhd.

Briefly, a WRO is issued by CBP and intended to prevent goods suspected to have been made with forced labor or in violation of labor standards from entering the US.

The WRO, which was initially put in place last September and revoked recently because CBP obtained information demonstrating the company no longer produces rubber gloves under forced labor conditions. The process to revoke a WRO required CBP becoming involved with the manufacturing and labor practices to ensure WRP complied with international and US labor standards.

While the media release made no mention of the corona virus, it is unusual to see a media release singling out a revocation of a withhold release order, especially a WRO on PPE goods  such as disposable rubber gloves.

If you are subject to a WRO and want to explore your options, contact experienced customs attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

Second shipment of prohibited coronavirus test kits seized.

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Images of seized test kits, source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release on Thursday, CBP officers at O’Hare International Airport, International Mail Facility (IMF) seized packages containing medical drug kits from the United Kingdom. These test kits were to test for viruses and diseases such as meningitis, IVF, MRSA, apple, salmonella and COVID-19.

The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) prohibits the importation or delivery for introduction into interstate commerce, or the causing thereof, of any food, drug, device, tobacco product, or cosmetic that is adulterated or misbranded.

CBP says coronavirus testing should occur in laboratories and the public should be aware of counterfeit home testing kits sold online.

If you have had your good seized by CBP, contact experienced seizure attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

Counterfeit designer bags seized from Turkey.

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Image of seized purses, source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, CBP officers in Philadelphia seized a shipment of 32 counterfeit designer brand purses from Turkey. If authentic, the handbags would have a retail price of $113,683.

This is the second significant shipment of designer brand handbags that CBP officers recently seized in Philadelphia, following the $317,080 in counterfeit designer brand products officers seized February 24.

According to the media release, CBP suspected the goods were counterfeit because of the poor quality and packaging.

What happens next?
The importer of record in Atlanta will receive a seizure notice (Notice of Seizure). The IOR can then petition for release, refer to court, abandon the goods or offer in compromise.

If you have been suspected of importing counterfeit goods, don’t risk the civil penalty by Customs, contact experienced seizure attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

CBP Officers seizes $19k in money from US travelers.

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According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, officers at Washington Dulles International Airport seized $19,000 in unreported currency from a couple of Morocco-bound travelers over the holidays. 

The couple was stopped at the airport (CBP will usually stop you as you board your flight) and told CBP they understood the federal currency reporting requirements. They then signed a document saying they possessed $8,000 in currency. As a side note – this is the FinCen form. I believe CBP stops people as they board the flight as people are usually in a hurry and want to just get on their flight – so may not correctly declare how much money they are carrying.

As you are aware, you have to report to CBP if you are carrying $10,000 in currency. CBP will not take it away and the amount is not taxed – it just has to be reported.

In this instance, CBP officers discovered $19,651 in currency (they will count the traveling group as 1, and not each individual member of the group). CBP also released back to the travelers $651 in what is known as “humanitarian purposes” before the travelers boarded their flight.

If you have had your hard earned money seized by Customs, or if you experience any customs seizure, contact experienced customs law attorney David Hsu by email/text at 832-896-6288 or attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

Customs seizes $21,000 in unreported currency.

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Image of seized currency, source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, CBP officers seized $21,255 in unreported currency from traveler headed to Pakistan departing from Washington Dulles International Airport.

The passenger was headed to Pakistan through Turkey and was stopped for further inspection prior to boarding the plane. The traveler reported she had $6,000 and also told Customs officials she understood the currency reporting requirements.

Most of the time, Customs will make a traveler sign the FinCen 105 form before conducting a more detailed inspection.

After the traveler declared she had $6,000, a subsequent search by officers revealed she was carrying a combined $21,255. Customs returned her $255 for “humanitarian purposes” and seized $21,000 for violation of currency reporting requirements.

Depending on the amount seized, Customs may or may not return some money to the traveler for “humanitarian purposes” and the amount is discretionary.

Customs may or may not issue civil and criminal penalties for violation US currency requirements – in this instance, HSI was not involved so I do not believe Customs will pursue any criminal penalties.

If you have had your hard-earned currency seized by Customs, call experienced currency seizure attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com. There are certain deadlines that must be met to ensure your seized currency is not forfeited.

Louisville CBP seizes over $95 million in counterfeit goods over 3 month period.

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Image of seized counterfeit watches, source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection media release,  CBP officers in Louisville, Kentucky seized 164 shipments containing counterfeit goods with an estimated MSRP of $95 million. This figure represents an increase of 75% over the same period last year.

The seized items include counterfeit designer bags, jewelry, shoes, sunglasses and more. While CBP handles the seizures, CBP officers work along with the CBP Consumer Products and Mass Merchandising Centeres for Excellence and Expertise (CEE) to verify authenticity of trademarks. As a side note, I have never had a trademark holder agree that the goods were not counterfeit – I don’t believe any trademark holder will agree their goods are authentic.

The rest of the media release talks about why buying counterfeit goods are bad (poor quality control, maybe contains hazardous materials, funds criminal activity, etc.).

If you have had your good seized, contact experienced seizure attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com. There may be something we can do to get your seized goods back.

Fake airbags from China seized in Ontario, California.

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Image of seized airbag, source: cbp.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) press release, officers at Ontario International Airport (ONT) express air cargo operations in Ontario, California along with the import specialists (IS) assigned to the Automotive & Aerospace Center of Excellence (AA Center) seized counterfeit Honda airbags arriving in packages from China.

Eight Honda airbags were arriving from China when CBP officers discovered the airbags during an examination of the express packages. The airbags were sent to import specialists who focused on automobile parts and confirmed the airbags were in violation of Honda’s  protected mark. If the airbags were genuine, they carried an estimated manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $4,856.

The remainder of the CBP article highlights the dangers of purchasing fake parts that may not function as well as OEM parts.

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

CBP conducts anti-counterfeit operations in New Orleans.

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According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, CBP officers in the New Orleans Field Office partnered with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) for their “Operation Safety Claus”. As indicated by the name of the operation, “Operation Safety Claus” is a joint anti-counterfeiting law enforcement operation in metro New Orleans to target the importation of counterfeit goods during the holiday season.

According to the press release, in the past few weeks, CBP officers have seized items such as makeup, contact lenses, hair products, eyelashes, and clothing. During the Halloween holiday, CBP seized an increase in items like contact lenses, makeup and other cosmetics. CBP warns counterfeit goods may contain bacteria, heavy metals, or other toxins that pose a health risk.

As in all their media releases related to counterfeit goods, CBP highlighted the public safety risk of counterfeit goods, the sale of counterfeit goods to fund illicit activities and crime and restated their counterfeit seizure figures.

If your property has been seized by CBP, you must respond or risk a civil penalty down the road and a loss of your shipment. Contact experienced seizure attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

HSI New Orleans Deputy Special Agent in Charge Gilbert S. Trill explained that selling and purchasing counterfeit items is an intellectual property crime, often used to fund international and transnational criminal organizations. These crimes can also have an adverse effect on the United States, in terms of reduced innovation, repressed job markets, and reduced quality. Additionally, it puts the public at risk with little recourse.

“You’re not going to be able to sue an illegal activity or transnational criminal organization,” he said.

On a typical day in 2018, U.S. Customs and Border Protection alone seized $3.7 million worth of products with Intellectual Property Rights violations, with the IPR industry topping $ billion nationally. Many of these products are shipped through mail facilities throughout the country.

“The discovery and interception of counterfeit merchandise that pose safety hazards to our citizens is an illustration of how CBP works every single day to keep dangerous goods from the commerce of the United States,” said Mark S. Choina, Assistant Port Director, Trade, Port of New Orleans.

The New Orleans office of HSI covers Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi, while the New Orleans CBP office covers Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, and Tennessee. For more information on IPR, visit https://www.cbp.gov/trade/priority-issues/ipr.

Fake NBA championship rings worth $560,000 seized by Customs.

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Image of counterfeit NBA rings, source: cbp.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release – officers assigned at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) seized 28 counterfeit NBA rings with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $560,000.

According to the media release, the rings were shipped from China and packaged in a wooden box to be sold as a collection of championship rings from multiple teams – including the Cavaliers, Lakers, Bulls, etc.

When CBP suspects items are counterfeit, they will take photos or send samples to the  Consumer Products and Mass Merchandising Center of Excellence (CPMM Center) for a final determination regarding the authenticity of the items. If they are determined to be counterfeit, CBP will seize the goods and issue a seizure notice to the importer of record (in this instance, it is a not a formal entry – so the notice would be shipped to the person receiving the goods).

If you have had your goods seized by CBP, contact experienced seizure attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com or dh@gjatradelaw.com.