CBP Officers Seize Cheese As Wheels Fall Off of Smuggling Scheme
Uh Oh... the cheese wheel has fallen off and it turns out the Swiss aren't the only one's with holes. A smuggling scheme was melted into fondue after a woman from Albuquerque thought she could sneak one (or 60) past CBP.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the Paso Del Norte border crossing in El Paso, seized more than 100 pounds of undeclared cheese on Sept. 6, 2022. That is one big charcuterie board.
Upon arriving to the border crossing the driver of the 2011 GMC Yukon, a female from Albuquerque, declared 10 wheels of cheese to the CBP officer.
Sounds normal so far...
The CBP officer then located the declared 10 wheels of cheese in the trunk area of the vehicle. As the officer continued the exam, an additional 50 wheels of undeclared cheese were discovered hidden under blankets in the back row of the vehicle.
The woman was given a $1,000 civil penalty and released. The contraband cheese was seized and destroyed.
HOW DARE THEY DESTROY THE CHEESE?! THE REAL CRIME. THERE IT IS.
“Travelers can import cheese commensurate with personal consumption levels. A few wheels would generally be fine but not 60. It was undeclared and that amount would be a commercial quantity and additional reporting requirements would apply.”
-Ray Provencio, CBP El Paso Port Director
According to the News Release from CBP...
- Milk, cream, ice cream, butter and many cheeses are subject to quota restrictions administered by both CBP and the Department of Agriculture. All dairy products are subject to Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) requirements. They are also subject to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requirements.
- Milk and cream may not be imported without a permit from the FDA. The wrappers or cartons for these products must be printed with the country of origin. Finally, all commercial imports of food and beverage products require the Filing of Prior Notice with FDA, and foreign manufacturers and/or distributers of food products must register with the FDA before their goods may be admitted.