EL PASO, Texas – Since the beginning of the pandemic, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers have seen an increase in unapproved, counterfeit, or non-FDA compliant COVID-19 tests, hand sanitizer, facemasks, and mask filters crossing the border.
“Some appear to be exploiting the pandemic for financial gain, leaving the consumer at risk. These products may result in serious consequences to the consumer, whether that end user is in the United States or another country,” said CBP El Paso Director of Field Operations Hector Mancha, “CBP officers are committed to ensuring that all items being imported and exported meet critical health and safety standards.”
On May 16, CBP officers from the Santa Teresa port of entry encountered a 36-year-old Mexican male traveling into Mexico with a suitcase. A CBP officer interviewed the subject and found inconsistencies in his story; he was referred for an intensive examination. During an examination of the subject’s suitcase, CBP officers discovered 1,000 counterfeit COVID-19 Rapid Tests. The test kits were seized pending further investigation.
Additionally, on May 17, CBP officers from the Ysleta port of entry encountered a 62-year-old U.S. citizen female with 1,000 facemasks, 2,740 mask filters, and 60 1-liter bottles of hand sanitizer. All of the products were found to lack proper registration, labeling, and did not comply with criteria set by the Food and Drug Administration; all of the products were seized.
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.