Prescription medication seized by CBP.

Image of seized medication, source: CBP.gov

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Indianapolis seized multiple shipments of Zolpidem, 10 milligram tablets, a schedule IV controlled substance used as a sedative.

The packages were sent from the United Kingdom and headed to separate addresses in the US. The shipments were arriving from the United Kingdom and were all headed to separate addresses. The shipper hid the Zolpidem in coffee tins.

If you have had your goods seized by Customs and want to explore your options, contact David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Fake luxury belts seized by Customs.

Seized “Gucci” belts, source: CBP.gov

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Kentucky seized two shipments containing over 648 counterfeit belts. The above photo provided by CBP shows the belts had the Gucci logo – the shipment also included “Salvatore Ferragamo” belt buckles. If real, CBP says the belts have a retail value of $350,496.

Author’s note – CBP media releases usually go into detail about the description of the goods and the packaging or item quality that resulted in Customs questioning the authenticity of the goods. I believe Customs probably scrutinizes any shipment from Hong Kong that contains clothing or accessories.

If you have had your goods seized by Customs, give me a call, there might be something we can do to limit your legal liability. Call or text me anytime at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

CBP seizes $1.41 million in eyewear.

Counterfeit glasses, source: CBP.gov

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Chicago seized seven shipments containing eyewear worth more than $1.41 million. The glasses were entered duty free claiming country of origin as Israel. However, upon further inspection, CBP officials found the origin markings on the eyeglasses did not match the country of origin on the paperwork.

CBP reports the country of origin on the goods included China, France, Italy and the United States. CBP seized the goods for fraudulently misrepresenting the country of origin and attempting to avoid the payment of duties. CBP seized the goods for violation of 19 USC 1304 and 19 USC 1595a(c).

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

CBP seizes mislabeled shipment filled with counterfeit goods.

Image of counterfeit sandals, source: CBP.gov

In late June, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers Kentucky detained and seized a shipment containing over 300 counterfeit items shipped from Hong Kong.

While the outside packing list indicated the contents were belts, CBP officers instead found watches from “Rolex”, “Cartier” and “Panerai Luminor”. The shipment also contained sandals from Tory Burch, earrings from Chanel, Gucci sandals bracelets, LV scarves, Gucci scarves, Chanel Scares and many more luxury branded goods. CBP indicated the shipment contained over $371,365 worth of goods – if authentic.

Author’s note: in general, CBP will detain goods suspected of being counterfeit and then send images or samples of the goods to the trademark holder. If the trademark holder tells Customs the goods are not authentic – CBP will seize them and issue the importer of record a seizure notice.

Also – in addition to seizing the goods for being counterfeit, CBP can also seize any goods that are included in the shipment, but not properly declared or mis-declared on the packing list and entry paperwork.

In general – it is easy to run into Customs problems – before you import, or before you export, contact David Hsu by phone/text anytime at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com for a free consultation.

$5.5 million in fake Gucci, Instagram and Facebook clothing seized.

Seized goods, source: CBP.gov

Earlier this past July, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at one of our great nation’s biggest seaport of Los Angeles / Long Beach seized a large shipment of women’s sleepwear containing counterfeit brands such as Gucci, Facebook and Instagram.

2020 is a weird year indeed when we consider Facebook and Instagram to be a luxury brand. If authentic the 16,340 items of seized counterfeit pajamas (called “sleeping dresses”) would be worth an approximate retail value of $5.5 million.

CBP reported the counterfeit goods were concealed inside generic non-branded pajamas which CBP believes was intentionally packaged to avoid detection.

Author’s note – yes, in general if you pack counterfeit goods underneath unbranded goods, or try to conceal a counterfeit logo (such as using black tape to cover a logo), CBP will assume you are aware of the nature of the goods and are attempting to smuggle them into the US in violation of 19 USC 1595a (c)(1)(A), in other words merchandise that “is stolen, smuggled, or clandestinely imported or introduced“.

In addition to violating intellectual property rights of the trademark holder, CBP also claims counterfeit goods may not be in compliance with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) requirements for flammability standards of sleepwear.

If you have had your shipment seized for alleged counterfeit violations or seized for alleged violations of CPSC consumer guidelines – contact seizure attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

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.

Over 10,000 assault weapons parts seized by Customs.

Image of seized parts, source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, CBP officers seized a shipment from China containing over 10,000 assault weapons parts being smuggled into the country. The shipment from Shenzhen, China was to be sent to a home in Florida and valued at approximately $129,600.

According to the media release, the packing list listed the items as “100 Steel Pin Samples”. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) regulates and restricts firearms and ammunition and importers of any firearms, ammunition or parts must be a licensed importer, dealer or manufacturer.

If you would like to be a licensed importer with ATF, contact David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

San Juan CBP seizes counterfeit luxury products worth $265,000.

Image of seized Rolex watches, source: CBP.gov

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents in San Juan seized counterfeit watches and jewelry from a shipment from Hong Kong. If genuine, the value of the counterfeit products would total approximately $256,000. The above image from Customs shows a display of the fake Rolex brand watches seized.

If you have had your goods seized by Customs, you may face both criminal and civil penalties. Contact David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 to discuss your options – feel free to also send us an email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

CBP intercepts termites from entering the US.

Image of lumber from Cameroon, source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, CBP officers intercepted a shipment of lumber from Cameroon containing termites. The pests were found around the stacks of lumber for entry into the US. When CBP finds invasive pests or larvae of potentially invasive species, a sample is collected and submitted to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for further analysis and confirmation.

The container with the lumber was sealed and secured while USDA evaluates the sample pest, ultimately determining the termites as Kalotermitidae species, or commonly known as the dry worm termites. These termites are known to damage timber used as a structure and hardwood floors in the home.

If you have your shipment seized by Customs due to the presence of an invasive species -whether the wood-boring wasp or a dry worm termite – contact David Hsu immediately to discuss your options. Depending on the type of pest, there may be some cost effective options instead of re-exporting back to the origination. Call/text anytime to 832-896-6288 or email David at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

Image of termite, source: CBP.gov

Tobacco from Malawi’s Alliance One International no longer subject to withhold release order.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Earlier today, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) changed a withhold release order (WRO) to allow tobacco from Malawi’s Alliance One International, LLC.

What is a withhold release order (WRO)?
A WRO is used by CBP to prevent the importation of goods from companies with a reasonable suspicion of being produced using forced labor.

How do you cancel a WRO?
CBP will require an audit of the company to cancel a WRO. In the instant article, Alliance One International’s social compliance program was likely evaluated and found by Customs to minimize the risks of forced labor from the supply chain. Alliance One likely had to demonstrate to CBP the the tobacco produced and harvested from their farms does not use forced labor.

Does this impact the other tobacco growers on Malawi?
No, the WRO will continue to apply to imports of tobacco from Malawi by any other company that has not demonstrated to CBP there is no forced labor in its supply chain.

Can you tell me more about a WRO?
The WRO was born out of Federal statute 19 U.S.C. 1307. This statute prohibits importation of merchandise mined, manufactured or produced, wholly or in part, by forced labor, including convict labor, forced child labor and indentured labor.

If you are an exporter subject to a WRO, and would like the WRO to be removed, contact attorney David Hsu by phone/text anytime at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Follow CBP Office of Trade on Twitter @CBPTradeGov.