CINCINNATI—On March 9, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers stationed at the Port of Cincinnati seized an outbound shipment declared as containing clothing after they discovered it also contained loose gold and gold bars worth far more than the declared value of $125 USD.
Officers selected the shipment for an x-ray exam while conducting routine inspections on cargo exported from the United States to international destinations. After noting density anomalies during the x-ray screening, officers opened the shipment and found four gold bars and a box of loose gold concealed within articles of clothing. The package originated from an apartment in San Francisco, California and was headed for an address in Kowloon, Hong Kong.
Cincinnati officers requested the assistance of CBP’s Laboratories and Scientific Services (LSS), the agency’s directorate of scientists trained in chemistry, nuclear physics, palynology, and engineering, to analyze the gold in the shipment. LSS confirmed the gold was approximately 98% pure, leading import specialists from the Centers for Excellence and Expertise to assess the value of the shipment at $67,830.
“Our officers process millions of legitimate trade imports and exports every year at the Port of Cincinnati,” said Cincinnati Port Director Richard Gillespie. “While they uphold the U.S. economy by facilitating legal trade and investments, officers also protect the country’s revenue and its citizens from individuals and entities who attempt to evade import and export requirements.”
CBP is responsible for ensuring that all goods entering and exiting the United States do so in accordance with all applicable U.S. laws and regulations. Exporters must file electronically through CBP’s Automated Export System if the value of their goods exceeds $2,500 USD. Failing to file or filing misleading export information can incur civil or criminal penalties and prosecution.
“CBP aspires to be the most innovative and trusted law enforcement agency in the world,” said Director of Field Operations for the Chicago Field Office, LaFonda D. Sutton-Burke. “As the volume and demand for U.S. exports increases, our officers and specialists safeguard our economy by maintaining a strong and unified presence at our borders and leverage their experience and technology to detect shipments contrary to law.”
CBP conducts operations at ports of entry and export throughout the United States, and regularly screens inbound and outbound international passengers and cargo for narcotics, weapons, and other restricted or prohibited products. CBP strives to serve as the premier law enforcement agency enhancing the nation’s safety, security, and prosperity through collaboration, innovation, and integration.