Failure to Declare Medication Gave Two Travelers a Headache After CBP Officers Assessed Close to $17,000 in Penalties

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CALEXICO, Calif., – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Calexico West Port of Entry seized 471 assorted pharmaceutical items concealed in vehicles.  Combined penalties assessed by CBP officers add up to close to $17, 000.

Illegal pharmaceutical items found under the back seats of a vehicle
CBP officers conducted a thorough, physical inspection of a vehicle that resulted in the removal of undeclared pharmaceuticals from under the seats.

The most recent seizure occurred, August 27, at approximately 11 a.m., when a 26-year-old male driving a Honda Civic applied for entry into the U.S. by presenting his California driver’s license to CBP officers at the Calexico West port of entry.  The officer referred the vehicle and occupant for further examination.

A detailed inspection of the vehicle performed by CBP officers resulted in the discovery of 117 undeclared assorted pharmaceutical items.  The items were inside a sealed microwave oven box located in the trunk of the vehicle.

The second seizure happened on August 19, at about 3:47 p.m.  A 24-year-old male and his orange Renault Sandero were referred for further inspection after CBP officers found boxes of veterinary pharmaceuticals inside the vehicle.  The driver presented his valid passport card when he applied for admission into the United States at the Calexico West port of entry.

CBP officers conducted a thorough, physical inspection of the vehicle that resulted in the removal of 354 pieces of undeclared veterinary pharmaceuticals from under the seats, glove box and inside a backpack.

Further examination of the pharmaceuticals from both events, determined the pharmaceuticals did not meet federal, state and local standard regulations required by law for treatment.  Both drivers were issued monetary penalties totaling approximately $17,000 for failure to declare merchandise.

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“Our officers are not only on the lookout to seize hard narcotics, but they also remain vigilant for smuggling attempts in other realms such as the commerce for illegal pharmaceuticals,” said Acting Director of Field Operations, Anne Maricich of the San Diego Field Office.  “I am very proud of our officers who continue to counteract illegal practices in various forms.”

In 1996, the FDA along with the U.S. Customs Service, U.S. Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Justice prosecuted a supply corporation on 12 felony counts for a smuggling scheme to distribute unapproved animal drugs for use in veal calves in the United States.  The risks posed by utilizing unregulated veterinary pharmaceuticals have the potential to cause great harm to our animals and food supply chain. 

The pharmaceuticals on both cases were seized by CBP officers.

CBP officers at the border crossing in Southern California stop illegal activity while processing millions of legitimate travelers into the United States.