DULLES, Va. (CBSDC) — Customs officials at Dulles Airport seized 924 packs of cigarettes from a passenger who was returning to the United States from Vietnam earlier this week.
Customs and Border Protection officers felt the 18,480 cigarettes seemed excessive for personal use and the man did not have an import permit for them. They suspect the man intended to import the cigarettes for resale in the U.S.
The man, who lives in the District, initially declared just two or three cartons according to a news release. In actuality, he had far more.
“There are completely legal options to import large quantities of commercial goods into the United States, but concealing 924-loose packs of cigarettes inside luggage, and importing it without appropriate permits isn’t one,” said Christopher Hess, CBP port director for the Port of Washington, D.C. “Customs and Border Protection takes very seriously our mission of facilitating the free flow of legitimate trade and travel; the key word being legitimate.”
The cigarettes were seized for violation of 19 USC 1497, failure to declare.
The passenger initially admitted to possessing fish and cigarettes, but a secondary x-ray inspection revealed the tobacco bounty wrapped in blankets inside of his ten pieces of luggage.
Among the brands found in the roughly 92-carton seizure were Marlboro, Kent, Craven, Mild Seven and Esse. The cigarettes were purchased in Vietnam.