Did you purchase ANY merchandise on your overseas trip? Be sure to declare it.

Sample of seized goods from traveler arriving from Thailand, source: CBP.gov

According to a CBP media release, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at Dulles Airport seized consumer goods from an individual flying back into the US after a trip to Thailand.

The passenger was flying to Dulles on a flight from South Korea. When clearing Customs at Dulles, CBP officers asked her if she purchased any merchandise on her trip.

In response, she declared in writing and verbally that she did not purchase any items and was returning from Thailand with six pieces of luggage. However, when CBP performed a secondary inspection, they found and seized over 298 counterfeit items among 12 pieces of luggage belonging to the passenger. The total value of the goods, if authentic totaled over $500,000.

She stated that she returned from Thailand with six pieces of luggage, but declared, both verbally and in writing, that she did not purchase any merchandise on her trip.

She stated that she returned from Thailand with six pieces of luggage, but declared, both verbally and in writing, that she did not purchase any merchandise on her trip. However, when airline employees brought the woman’s baggage to the CBP inspection area, they examined 12 bags that were tagged to the traveler. After examining the bags, CBP found 298 pieces of clothing, hats, shoes and jewelry with marks from brand names such as Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Burberry, Prada, Gianni Versace and others.

After the seizure, experts from the Center for Excellence and Expertise determined the goods were counterfeit. Counterfeit goods were then seized by Customs.

This media release is a good reminder for travelers to:

  1. Don’t lie to CBP and never sign anything that is not truthful.
  2. If you are asked about quantity of any items or value of currency – be sure to over estimate. There is no duty and no cost to bring in currency or monetary instruments – but you must declare it.
  3. CBP likely already knows the answers to their questions before they search you and before they ask you any questions. CBP has access to passenger information and has developed profiles on passengers and certain metrics they use to determine which passenger gets secondary screening.

If you or anyone you know has had your goods seized by Customs, contact customs seizure attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.