To Smuggle Cigarettes Into Washington Dulles Airport
By Daniel Baxter
March 10, 2012 - It’s not unusual for cigarette smokers
to take a few packs or even couple of cartons of smokes
on a trip with them. But one passenger, who arrived to
Washington Dulles International Airport Monday from
Japan, learned that 924 packs may just be too many.
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized the
cigarettes for violation of 19 USC 1497, failure to
declare, since the passenger, a lawful permanent
resident of the United States, repeatedly declared
possessing two to three cartons. Officers released the
subject, who lives in Washington, D.C.
The amount of cigarettes, 18,480, seemed excessive for personal use and CBP officers suspected that the passenger intended to import the cigarettes for resale in the U.S.; however the passenger lacked an import permit from the U.S. Treasury Department’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Bureau as required by the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act.
completely legal options to import large quantities of
commercial goods into the United States, but concealing
924-loose packs of cigarettes inside luggage, and importing it
without appropriate permits isn’t one,” said Christopher Hess,
CBP port director for the Port of Washington, D.C. “Customs and
Border Protection takes very seriously our mission of
facilitating the free flow of legitimate trade and travel; the
key word being legitimate.”
passenger, who flew from Vietnam to Japan and on to the U.S.,
initially admitted to possessing fish and cigarettes. A CBP
officer referred him to a secondary agriculture inspection where
an x-ray instead revealed a large quantity of individual
cigarette packs in nearly all of his ten pieces of luggage.
inspected the luggage and counted a total of 924-loose packs of
cigarettes, most wrapped inside blankets. Cigarette brand names
included Marlboro, Kent, Craven, White Horse, Mild Seven and
Esse. They were purchased in Vietnam.
CBP routinely conducts random inspections operations on arriving and departing passengers searching for narcotics, currency, weapons and other prohibited or illicit products.
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