MEMPHIS, TENN – On Tuesday, Aug 10, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officers at an express consignment hub in Memphis, Tennessee, examined a package described in the paperwork by the shipper as “HARDBACK BABY BOOKS GREETINGS CARDS X 5.” The shipment, which was a box originally holding a map of astronomical constellations was sent from Edinburgh, Scotland to a small business address at a shopping center in San Mateo, CA.
Inside the box were two books and several cards with envelopes. The books were “Fill-in-the-Blank Notes for Lovers,” some kind of novelty book with tear out notes to be completed, and “The Art of Handmade Living: Crafting a Beautiful Home” by Willow Crossley. Perhaps intentionally ironic, there was a little handcrafting going on with the book. The center had been hollowed out, and snuggled in the gap was one Israeli passport and two Israeli identification cards, all for the same man. Records checked showed the man had no entries into the U.S. nor encounters with CBP. He does not have any visas nor legal status in the United States. The passport had Colombian and Brazilian entry stamps from 2020.
CBPOs seized the shipment as the passport appeared to be altered due to a photo substitution. The purpose of these smuggled documents is unknown, but someone already in the U.S. may be the man whose photos were illegally pasted on top of the original photos in the passport and identification cards.
This seizure took place within the Area Port of Memphis, which covers ports of entry throughout the state of Tennessee and falls under CBP’s New Orleans Field Office. This Field Office includes all ports in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas and Tennessee.
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U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation’s borders at and between official ports of entry. CBP is charged with securing the borders of the United States while enforcing hundreds of laws and facilitating lawful trade and travel.