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CBP Testing New Way to Decrease Border Wait Times

U.S. Customs & Border Protection /

Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – In an ongoing effort to reduce wait times at the International Bridge, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operations will pilot a project to bring vehicles to the inspection booths in less time.

“Efficacy in movement is paramount to this project’s success. We are always trying to improve the flow of legitimate traffic while enforcing the laws of the United States,” said Patrick Wilson, CBP Sault Ste. Marie Assistant Port Director.

The Sault Ste Marie port of entry has a unique design that separates commercial traffic from car traffic, creating an upper and lower plaza. The focus of this project will be on the upper plaza only and will not affect the flow of traffic on the lower plaza.

Stop signs will be placed in all three upper lanes beginning Friday, April 20. The stop signs will shorten the “pull up” distance to the booth. This allows vehicles to queue up quicker. The stop signs will be placed near Radio Frequency Identification readers where the traveling public can display their Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative RFID-enabled document to pre-populate the officer’s computer screens.

CBP is testing the theory that they can process more travelers each hour by reducing the amount of time it takes each vehicle to get to the inspecting officer.

This pilot project will incorporate a two-stop sign process. Upon entering the upper plaza, vehicles will be required to stop at the first existing stop sign. As the vehicle ahead clears, travelers will move to the next new stop sign and present their ID to the RFID reader. Once the vehicle at the inspection booth clears, travelers will proceed to the inspection booth.

Vehicles with trailers/campers are asked to use the lower plaza lanes so as not to impede the functionality of installed equipment. LED signage will be adjusted to notify motorists of this change.

CBP officers will direct traffic periodically during this project to help educate travelers on this new process.

“We continue to look for efficiencies in our processes to improve the border crossing experience. If we can save a couple of seconds of inspection time per vehicle, the time savings should reduce each traveler’s wait,” said Assistant Port Director Wilson.



JFK CBP Finds more than $7 Million in Fake Financial Instruments
U.S. Customs & Border Protection /

Jamaica, N.Y. — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the John F. Kennedy Airport International Mail Facility recently seized more than seven million dollars in counterfeit money orders and checks.

On March 23, CBP officers examined mail parcels arriving from Ghana. The parcels were found to contain 6,575 counterfeit financial instruments totaling more than $6.7 million.

On the same day, a parcel of mail shipped from Nigeria was examined by CBP and it contained 281 counterfeit financial instruments totaling more than $300,000. The money orders were turned over to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service for further investigation.

“The responsibilities of a CBP officer are diverse and numerous,” said Robert E. Perez, Director of CBP New York Field Operations. “However, our officers are steadfast in their responsibility in protecting the United States. This seizure illustrates the diversity of the CBP mission.”

"The Postal Inspection Service is committed to a partnership with Customs and Border Protection and will tirelessly work to protect, prevent and enforce the laws that keep the American consumers from these schemes,” said Gregory S. Crabb, Inspector in Charge of Revenue, Product and Global Security, U. S. Postal Service.



Notice of Inquiry: Non-Vessel-Operating Common Carrier Service Arrangements

The Federal Maritime Commission /

The Federal Maritime Commission is issuing this Notice of Inquiry seeking comments on its rules which exempt non-vessel-operating common carriers who enter into service arrangements from certain tariff filing requirements of the Shipping Act of 1984.

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CBP at Newark Seizes Spray Cans Filled with Heroin
CBP officers arrest passenger transporting illegal narcotics

U.S. Customs & Border Protection /

Newark, N.J. — U. S. Customs and Border Protection Officers at Newark Liberty International Airport discovered spray cans containing more than hairspray and foot powder.

On March 20, Ms. Jessica Aguirre arrived from Bogota, Colombia and was inspected by CBP officers. During the examination, CBP officers discovered three spray cans that felt unusually heavy. The cans were probed and revealed a brown powder that tested positive for heroin. Ms. Aguirre’s other suitcase was also unusually heavy; it was probed and a brown powder was discovered that tested positive for heroin.

Approximately 4.8 pounds of heroin was seized.

“Heroin is a dangerous narcotic and CBP does its part in keeping these drugs off the streets,” said Robert E. Perez, director of CBP’s New York Field Operations. “Our officers are determined to protect the American people from these illicit substances.”

Ms. Aguirre was turned over to agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations. She has been charged with federal narcotics smuggling and is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of New Jersey.

All defendants are considered innocent until proven guilty.



Frontier Fined for Violating Rules Protecting Air Travelers with Disabilities

U.S. Department of Transportation /

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) today assessed a civil penalty of $50,000 against Frontier Airlines for violating rules protecting air travelers with disabilities.

“The Department of Transportation is committed to ensuring that airline passengers are treated fairly, and passengers with disabilities are no exception,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “At DOT, we take our aviation disability rules seriously and will continue to take enforcement action when airlines violate these rules.”

An investigation by DOT’s Aviation Enforcement Office into complaints filed against Frontier found that the carrier violated the DOT regulation implementing the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) with respect to its transportation of an individual with a disability.

The individual filing the complaint, a quadriplegic who has no use of his arms, legs, or torso, is unable to sit upright in an aircraft seat without support and restraint. Frontier failed to provide him appropriate notice, in advance of the return portion of his round-trip transportation, that Federal Aviation Administration requirements prohibit seatbelt extenders as restraint devices for his upper body, even though the carrier had permitted him to use the devices in three prior flights, including the outbound flight of the trip in question. On the return flight, the individual did not have an alternative restraint method and was removed from the flight. The Department’s disability regulation requires airlines to provide passengers who notify them that they use a wheelchair for boarding, as this individual did, of any limit on the carriers’ ability to accommodate passengers with a disability, even if the passengers do not request the information.

Frontier also violated the Department’s disability regulation by failing to provide the passenger with adequate assistance in pre-boarding and getting on and off the plane, despite receiving multiple advance notices that the individual had a disability and needed assistance prior to his flight. DOT requires airlines to provide assistance to passengers with disabilities while boarding and deplaning aircraft, including the use of wheelchairs, ramps, mechanical lifts and service personnel where needed.

The consent order is available on the Internet at, docket DOT-OST-2012-0002.



USTIC Institutes Section 337 Investigation on Certain Consumer Electronics, including Mobile Phones and Tablets

U.S. International Trade Commission /

The investigation is based on a complaint filed by Pragmatus AV, LLC, of Alexandria, VA, on March 13, 2012, and a letter supplementing the complaint filed on March 30, 2012. The complaint, as supplemented, alleges violations of section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 in the importation into the United States and sale of certain consumer electronics, including mobile phones and tablets, that infringe patents asserted by Pragmatus. The complainant requests that the USITC issue an exclusion order and a cease and desist order.

The USITC has identified the following as respondents in this investigation:

ASUSTeK Computer, Inc., of Taiwan;
ASUS Computer International, Inc., of Fremont, CA;
HTC Corporation of Taiwan;
HTC America, Inc., of Bellevue, WA;
LG Electronics, Inc., of South Korea;
LG Elctronics U.S.A., Inc., of Englewood Cliffs, NJ;
LG Electronics MobileComm U.S.A., Inc., of San Diego, CA;
Pantech Co., Ltd., of South Korea;
Pantech Wireless, Inc., of Atlanta, GA;
Research In Motion Ltd. of Canada;
Research In Motion Corp. of Irving, TX;
Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., of South Korea;
Samsung Electronics America, Inc., of Ridgefield Park, NJ; and
Samsung Telecommunications America, L.L.C., of Richardson, TX.

By instituting this investigation (337-TA-839), the USITC has not yet made any decision on the merits of the case. The USITC's Chief Administrative Law Judge will assign the case to one of the USITC's six administrative law judges (ALJ), who will schedule and hold an evidentiary hearing. The ALJ will make an initial determination as to whether there is a violation of section 337; that initial determination is subject to review by the Commission.

The USITC will make a final determination in the investigation at the earliest practicable time. Within 45 days after institution of the investigation, the USITC will set a target date for completing the investigation. USITC remedial orders in section 337 cases are effective when issued and become final 60 days after issuance unless disapproved for policy reasons by the U.S. Trade Representative within that 60-day period.



Antiquities Dealer Pleaded Guilty to Smuggling Egyptian Cultural Property

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement /

NEW YORK – An antiquities dealer pleaded guilty Wednesday to smuggling Egyptian cultural property into the United States and making a false statement to law enforcement authorities. The guilty plea comes as a result of an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), with the assistance of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

Mousa Khouli, aka Morris Khouli, 38, was an antiquities dealer who arranged for the purchase and smuggling of a series of Egyptian antiquities between October 2008 and November 2009. This included: a Greco-Roman style Egyptian sarcophagus, a three-part nesting coffin set, a set of Egyptian funerary boats and Egyptian limestone figures.

These antiquities were exported from Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and smuggled into the United States using a variety of illegal methods intended to avoid detection and scrutiny by CBP. This included making false declarations to CBP concerning the country of origin and value of the antiquities; and providing misleading descriptions of the contents on shipping labels and customs paperwork, such as "antiques" "wood panels" and "wooden painted box." Khouli covered up the smuggling by making false statements to law enforcement authorities.

Most of the smuggled antiquities were recovered by law enforcement at the time the indictment was unsealed July 14, 2011. The innermost coffin of the nesting set was seized during a search of Khouli's residence in September 2009. The middle coffin and most of the outer coffin lid were seized in November 2009, after they arrived via sea cargo at the Port of Newark, N.J. The sarcophagus, funerary boats and limestone figures were seized during a search of co-defendant Joseph A. Lewis II's residence in July 2011.

The missing pieces of the coffin lid were forfeited to the government in court Wednesday. They consist of four wooden bird-like figures that attach to the four corners of the coffin lid, and four wooden panels that comprise the rectangular bottom of the coffin lid. Hieroglyphics on the coffin indicate that the name of the deceased was "Shesepamuntayesher" and that she bore the title "Lady of the House."

Khouli faces up to 20 years in federal prison. The defendant also entered into a stipulation of settlement resolving a civil complaint seeking forfeiture of the Egyptian antiquities, Iraqi artifacts, cash and other pieces of cultural property seized in connection with the government's investigation.

HSI plays a leading role in criminal investigations that involve the unauthorized importation and distribution of cultural property, as well as the illegal trafficking of artwork. The agency specializes in recovering works that have been reported lost or stolen. The HSI Office of International Affairs, through its 70 attaché offices in 47 countries, works closely with foreign governments to conduct joint investigations, when possible.

HSI specially trained investigators, assigned to both domestic and international offices, partner with governments, agencies and experts to protect cultural antiquities. They also train investigators from other nations and agencies on investigating crimes involving stolen property and art, and how to best enforce the law to recover these items when they emerge in the marketplace.

Since 2007, HSI has repatriated more than 2,500 items to more than 23 countries.

Learn more about HSI cultural property, art and antiquities investigations.

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