Kratom contaminated with salmonella seized by CBP.

Image of kratom powder, source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) media release, CBP officers in Detroit seized more than a half ton of “salmonella-laced Kratom” at the Fort Street Cargo Facility.

Author’s comment: the original headline was “CBP Seizes Half Ton of Salmonella-Laced Kratom“. Not sure why they used the word “laced” in the headline as lacing something is typically used to mean adding an ingredient to bulk up a drug. I am unsure how a kratom exporter can “lace” kratom with salmonella on purpose or if there would be a benefit to doing so. Additionally, the use of the word “lace” to describe kratom may also be an effort to associate kratom as dangerous as other illegal drugs that are frequently laced such as crack, heroin, PCP, etc.

The media release reports 1,200 pounds of contaminated powder (valued according to CBP at $405,000) was selected for further inspection due to an unusual description and classification discrepancies.

CBP said the kratom “which originated from China, were manifested as botanical soils from Canada, though Officers and specialists believed it to be consistent in appearance to bulk green tea”.

Author’s comment: this is the first time I have heard of kratom from China, maybe it was transhipped from Indonesia? CBP did not indicate the “classification discrepancy” or point out what HTSUS code was used to enter the kratom.

CBP took a sample of the power and sent it to the Food and Drug Administration for lab tests – which confirmed the shipment was kratom but also saw it was contaminated with salmonella. As a result, CBP seized the shipment “due to significant risk to public health and safety”.

Author’s comment: CBP does not specify the import alert on kratom as the basis for seizure. I have not seen the seizure notice (it will only be sent to the importer of record), but it was likely seized for not being described as kratom on the shipping documents.

In the last paragraph of the CBP media release, they write:

Kratom is a tropical tree native to Southeast Asia, and its leaves are often ingested in the form of tea. Depending on dosage, Kratom can produce both stimulant and sedative effects. Kratom is not a scheduled substance under the Controlled Substances Act, though the Drug Enforcement Administration currently lists it as a Drug or Chemical of Concern.

It is interesting they do not mention the 2016 import alert regarding kratom. If you have had your shipment of kratom (mitragyna speciosa) seized by CBP, contact David Hsu, 24/7 by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

CBP officers seize counterfeit luxury goods.

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Image of counterfeit shoes, source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, CBP officers in North Dakota inspected a rail container and found counterfeit shoes and a dress. CBP officers examined the shoes and seized the shipment for violating intellectual property rights (IPR). From looking at the photo by CBP, it appears the use of the word mark was the basis for the seizure. Most counterfeiters typically copy the pattern, but adding the word mark does violate the IPR.

If authentic, the estimated MSRP of the goods is approximately $28,545.

If you have had your shipment seized by Customs, contact David Hsu for a no-cost, no obligation consultation. There are certain things you must know to protect yourself if your goods have been seized. Contact by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

Fake Cialis and Viagra Pills Seized by CBP.

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Counterfeit medication from Turkey; source: CBP.gov

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Kentucky seized counterfeit Cialis and Viagra pills in Kentucky. The shipment from Turkey was destined to a city in California and labeled as “throat lozenges and candies”. However, CBP’s experienced officers looked at the totality of the circumstances and determined the route of the shipment and the packaging of the pills were indicative of being counterfeit pills.

Customs warns consumers of the dangers of buying counter medicines – which may have the incorrect or harmful ingredients.

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

Customs seizes over 1.5 million dollars in fake perfume.

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Image of the seized perfume in Miami, source: CBP.gov

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers and import specialists in Miami seized over 1,440 cartons, holding about 60,000 bottles of perfume in bottles with counterfeit trademarks. If authentic the MSRP of the perfume is more than 1.7 million.

The April 9th seizure was probably in advance of Mother’s Day next week and contained counterfeit trademarks belonging to Christian Dior, Chanel and more.

Besides the economic cost to legitimate products, CBP highlighted the risk of using counterfeit perfumes – as the use of counterfeit perfumes may expose the consumer to hazardous chemicals.

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If you have had your good seized by Customs, contact experienced seizure attorney David Hsu for a free no cost consultation by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

Fake Roku streaming devices seized by Customs.

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Image of seized Roku remotes, source: CBP.gov

With shelter in place taking effect over larger parts of the US, people are streaming more than ever. Perhaps to capitalize upon this, one importer in Philadelphia had a shipment of 1,600 Roku remotes seized by CBP in late April.

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, CBP officers in Pittsburgh seized 1,600 counterfeit Roku remotes last week. If authentic, the remotes would have an approximate MSRP of $80,000. The media release claimed the remotes were made from “substandard materials that could easily break” and lacked the “full inventory of options or commands that an authentic remote offers”.

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Were these remotes really counterfeit? I’ve handled many cases from my clients who have had their goods seized. Especially my clients in the refurbishment business. Used or returned goods to a retailer are liquidated in bulk to wholesalers or other private companies who will repair the goods (refurbish) and then resell as used in various condition. Retailers frequently liquidate returned goods such as phones and other personal electronics.

As refurbishment costs are high in the United States, it is more economical to send the damaged goods overseas (typically to China) for repair and then sent back. The problem is upon shipment back to the US, CBP will detain the goods on suspicion of an IPR violation. CBP suspects the goods are counterfeit because (1) the repair process makes the goods appear new, and (2) the goods are shipped in non-oem packaging – typically in bubble wrap and bundled together to save on freight charges. In the photo above from CBP, you can see the remotes in bubble wrap and shipped without the typical Roku packaging. When CBP sees items such as these remotes, or typically repaired iphones or Samsung phones, they believe the goods are counterfeit even though the items were shipped to China for repair.

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What happens during a customs seizure? If you are an importer, CBP may detain your shipment first. While your shipment is detained, CBP sends a photo of the item to the intellectual property right (IPR) holder. The IPR holder will more likely than not tell CBP the goods are counterfeit. If so, CBP will seize the goods and issue a seizure notice.

You will be mailed a seizure notice by certified mail, return receipt requested (CMRRR). If you receive the notice, make a note of the letter date and add 30 days – write down the 30 days and be sure you respond before 30 days has expired.

If you receive a notice of seizure, do not ignore the seizure notice. If so, CBP may forfeit your goods and issue you a penalty. Contact experienced seizure attorney David Hsu by phone or text anytime at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

CBP seizes $45k in unreported currency.

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Image of the seized currency, source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, the Office of Field Operations (OFO) in Laredo seized over $45,000 in undeclared currency in a single event over the weekend.

Officers seized the currency from a new 2020 Toyota Avalon traveling to Mexico during examination. A physical inspection revealed $45,147 in undeclared currency. As a result, the vehicle and cash was seized by CBP. In this instance, the vehicle, cash and seizure was turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) special agents for further investigation.

In general, if your seized goods are referred to HSI, then there will likely be a criminal investigation into the seized goods.

If you have had your goods seized in the Port of Laredo or any of the over 400 ports of entry into the US, contact experienced seizure attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

CBP seizes $850k in counterfeit goods.

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Counterfeit “Gucci” wallet, source: cbp.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, overnight CBP officers in Kentucky seized six packages containing goods that violated Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) violations. In other words, the DHL hub for air shipments from China contained a lot of fake goods.

According to the media release, CBP officers found fake Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Pokemon toys and Rolex watches. If authentic, the value of the goods totaled approximately $859,010.

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

CBP seizes $1 million dollars worth of counterfeit phones.

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Image of the seized phones, source: cbp.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, officers in Philadelphia seized a a combined 4,449 counterfeit LG and ASUS smartphones in July. If the phones were authentic, they would have a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $941,450.

The counterfeit phones were shipped from China and included 2,043 counterfeit LG phones in the first shipment and 1,926 LG and 480 ASUS counterfeit smartphones in the second shipment.

According to Customs, the phones were shipped from China to the Dominican Republic and then to Philadelphia. The phones were described in the paperwork as “cell phones used”. CBP says the phones will be destroyed.

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

CBP says the phones will be “destroyed”, however, there hasn’t been enough time from the date of the seizure to the date of the media release – there is still time to do something to get the phones released.

There are ways to get the phones released, contact David Hsu immediately – time is of the essence!