Tuesday, April 14, 2009

CBP Increases Controls of Southbound Shipments

Please find below a CBP news release regarding a recent seizure involving a FAST driver employed by a C-TPAT highway carrier. This seizure highlights that CBP is aggressively targeting southbound shipments destined for Mexico for contraband such as firearms and undeclared currency. This is the fourth significant seizure involving a C-TPAT member in the last two weeks and underscores the importance of members having robust supply chain security measures governing inbound and outbound shipments. Seizures of this sort demonstrate that drivers can be compromised, indicating a possible failure to comply with C-TPAT minimum security criteria such as driver screening. CBP would like to advise C-TPAT members that they may experience increased inspections at all Southwest border Ports of Entry. CBP encourages C-TPAT members engaged in trade with Mexico to re-double their efforts to keep their supply chains safe. C-TPAT will take immediate action to suspend or remove partners by revoking the C-TPAT benefits and FAST access of those partners not in compliance with the program’s minimum security criteria.

News Release
April 13, 2009

CBP Officers Seize $1 Million in Undeclared Outbound Currency from FAST Driver at World Trade Bridge

Laredo, Texas – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Laredo Port of Entry conducting outbound operations this Easter weekend and seized $1 million in undeclared currency from a driver enrolled in a trusted shipper program.

The seizure occurred about 2 p.m. on April 11, 2009 at World Trade Bridge. CBP officers conducting outbound (southbound) inspections referred a 1999 Freightliner tractor hauling a shipment of appliances driven by Jose Luis Martinez Gonzalez, a 26-year-old Mexican citizen from Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico for a secondary examination. The driver gave a negative declaration for currency in excess of $10,000, weapons or ammunition. A routine inspection of the tractor cab resulted in a canine alert to the mattress in the sleeper cab area. A non-intrusive imaging system scan indicated anomalies in the same area. A closer visual inspection of the area revealed tape-wrapped bundles revealing U. S. currency hidden under the mattress. CBP officers discovered bundles containing $1,000,035 in undeclared currency underneath the mattress in the sleeper area of the cab. CBP officers arrested Martinez Gonzalez on federal bulk cash smuggling charges and turned him over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) special agents who investigated the seizure. The tractor was seized by CBP officers.

“Our CBP officers working hand in glove in southbound inspections together with Border Patrol agents and ICE special agents have been making excellent bulk currency interceptions in the outbound arena recently and this is an impressive seizure to add to the accomplishments of our outbound team,” said Gene Garza, CBP Port Director, Laredo.

In fiscal year 2008, CBP officers at Laredo Port of Entry seized over $3.1 million dollars in undeclared currency in 146 different seizures. So far, in fiscal year 2009, CBP officers have seized over $9.9 million dollars in 62 different seizures.

Individuals are permitted to carry any amount of currency or monetary instruments into or out of the U.S. However, if the quantity is $10,000 or higher, they must formally report the currency to CBP. Failure to declare may result in seizure of the currency and/or arrest. An individual may petition for the return of currency seized by CBP officers, but the petitioner must prove that the source and intended use of the currency was legitimate.

For more information on how to secure your supply chain, please contact Custom Trade Solutions at http://www.customtrade.us/ and learn more about C-TPAT.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Nearly Three Tons of Marijuana Seized on C-TPAT/FAST Shipments

CBP Officers Seize Nearly Three Tons of Marijuana
Hidden in Two FAST Shipments at Laredo Port of Entry

Laredo, Texas –Within a 24-hour period, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Field Operations officers at the Laredo Port of Entry discovered nearly three tons of marijuana in two commercial trucks that had been enrolled in a trusted shipper program.

The latest seizure occurred shortly before 7:30 p.m. on Friday, April 3, 2009 at World Trade Bridge. A CBP officer referred a 1999 Freightliner tractor that had entered the bridge through the Free and Secure Trade (FAST) lane hauling a 2007 Token trailer laden with a shipment of auto parts for secondary inspection. The conveyance, part of the FAST program, a trusted shipper program, was driven by a 29-year-old female Mexican citizen from Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico. A non-intrusive imaging system scan indicated anomalies within the shipment. CBP officers conducted an intensive examination of the tractor trailer at the cargo dock and discovered bundles commingled with the shipment of auto parts. CBP officers discovered 157 bundles containing a total of nearly 3,472 pounds of marijuana. The marijuana has an estimated street value of $3.4 million.

The other seizure occurred shortly before 3 p.m. on Thursday, April 2, 2009 at Colombia-Solidarity Bridge. A CBP officer referred a 1997 Freightliner tractor that had entered the bridge through the Free and Secure Trade (FAST) lane hauling a 1999 Wabash trailer laden with a shipment of empty racks for secondary inspection. The conveyance, part of the FAST program, a trusted shipper program, was driven by a 27-year-old male Mexican citizen from Colombia, Nuevo Leon, Mexico. A non-intrusive imaging system scan indicated anomalies within the rear part of the trailer. CBP Canine “Martin” alerted to the odor of narcotics emanating from the rear of the trailer. CBP officers conducted an intensive examination of the tractor trailer at the cargo dock and discovered bundles in boxes in the rear of the trailer. Within the 101 bundles, CBP officers discovered a total of nearly 2,505 pounds of marijuana. The marijuana has an estimated street value of $2.5 million.

“Our frontline CBP officers utilized their high tech tools, canines and inspectional experience to detect and interdict two significant loads of narcotics in less than 24 hours that had entered through a lane designated for our trusted shipper program, FAST,” said Gene Garza, CBP Port Director, Laredo. “Our continuous review of our trusted shipper program to ensure compliance with the high standards of the program has proven to be effective.”

Monday, April 6, 2009

CBP Acting Commissioner Testifies before Congress

CBP Acting Commissioner Testifies before Congress

On April 1st, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Acting Commissioner Jayson P. Ahern, appeared before U.S. Congress and outlined the achievements of CBP and the goals for the future.
Mr. Ahern described in details the “multi-layered approach to ensure the integrity of the supply chain from the point of stuffing through arrival at a U.S. port of entry. This multi-layered approach includes:

-Advanced information under the 24-Hour Rule and Trade Act of 2002 (supplemented now by our Importer Security Filing requirements)
-Screening the information through the Automated Targeting System (ATS) and National Targeting Center – Cargo (NTC-C)
-Partnerships with industry and the private sector such as the Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT)
-Partnerships with foreign governments, such as the Container Security Initiative (CSI) and the Secure Freight Initiative (SFI)
-Use of Non-Intrusive Inspection (NII) technology and mandatory exams for all high risk shipments.

Among these programs, Mr. Ahern described C-TPAT as an “integral part of the CBP multi-layered strategy”. For the year 2009, U.S. Customs, through C-TPAT, will strengthen the partnership with certified companies. Mr. Ahern added that CBP will certify supply chain security profiles within 90 days of submission and will conduct C-TPAT validation within a year of certification and revalidations within 4 years from the initial validation.

With these requirements, come certain benefits that certified companies already enjoy such as “cost and delay savings associated with reduced examinations, expedited treatment when examinations are warranted, tighter inventory control of assets, business resumption privileges, ability to supply goods or services to those U.S. importers who require suppliers to have acceptable supply chain security programs, and a competitive advantage over firms with no or limited supply chain security programs”.