Sterling, Va. - A Swiss Army knife, dried eggs and sweet potatoes sounds like the start of a camping side dish, but in reality it was a recipe for disaster for a now-former trusted traveler at Washington-Dulles International Airport on Tuesday.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers referred the passenger, who had just arrived from Tokyo, to a random trusted traveler compliance inspection. The passenger answered 'No" to all questions on the automated Global Entry kiosk. Questions asked if the passenger was bringing anything to the U.S., such as agriculture products, currency exceeding $10,000, or commercial merchandise.
Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists fined the passenger $300 for failure to declare the dried eggs and sweet potatoes, and CBP officers permanently revoked the traveler's Global Entry membership.
Global Entry is a trusted traveler program that allows pre-approved U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents to fly through Customs and Border Protection international arrivals processing in just a couple of minutes.
"It's called a trusted traveler program because we place a significant amount of trust in members to comply with all customs, agriculture and immigration laws," said Christopher Hess, CBP port director for the port of Washington. "Global Entry was never intended to be a freeway for smuggling prohibited products."
CBP is required to validate trusted traveler programs through random compliance inspections. Violators face consequences, including loss of their expedited processing privilege, civil penalties or arrest.
As many as 12,000 international travelers a day may process their arrivals at Washington-Dulles. During peak arrival periods, it could take as long as 60 minutes or more to process the last person in a primary inspection line. Global Entry shaves that processing time considerably for trusted travelers through biometric verification at automated kiosks. Average processing time for Global Entry members is 64 seconds.
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 the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.