Customs Seizures

U.S. Customs and Border Protection excersises the authority to sieze merchandise, currency and data that is being imported or exported. Often, the seizure is conducted as part of Customs' responsibility to enforce the law for another agency at the border. For example, merchandise entering the United States can be seized for violating the laws and regulations enforced by:
  • Food and Drug Administation
  • Consumer Products Safety Commission
  • Animal Plant Health Inspection Service
  • Fish & Wildlife Service
  • Environmental Protection Agency
Customs can also seize merchandise to enforce its own laws and regulations, including those relating to:
  • Country of origin declaration and marking
  • Intellectual property rights including suspected counterfeit goods, gray market products, and goods entered in violation of a Section 337 order
  • Undeclared merchandise
  • Undeclared currency
  • Cultural property and antiquities
U.S. Customs and Border Protection also works in conjunction with the Department of State, Department of Commerce (Bureau of Industry and Security) and the Department of Treasury (Office of Foreign Assets Control) to seize merchandise that is being exported in violation of U.S. law.

Customs seizures leave the importer or other interested parties with a number of options to seek the release of the merchandise and mitigate any potential penalties. In some cases, prior to a formal seziure, an importer may be able to file an administrative protest with Customs. In other cases, the interested party will have to decide between and adminstrative petition process, judicial forfeiture in the local district court, or abandoning the property.

Barnes/Richardson lawyers have experence assisting parties who have an interest in seized merchandise attempting to secure the release of the property and mitigate any penalties. 

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