PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized more than $34,000 in jewelry from an uncooperative couple on Friday.
The married couple, who arrived from Amsterdam at Philadelphia International Airport, had declared $500 in t-shirts, glasses, food and a bike rack from their trip to the Netherlands. But during a baggage inspection, CBP officers discovered receipts for jewelry totaling $34,327.91.
When officers asked the couple to show them the jewelry, they displayed a ring, three bracelets and a necklace they were wearing. Officers then ordered the travelers to pay a duty penalty or have the merchandise seized.
CBP officers explained to the couple the process to petition for their merchandise and released them with their declared merchandise.
“This is a significant merchandise seizure, but it illustrates the severe consequences travelers face for being less than truthful during their international arrivals inspections,” said Allan Martocci, CBP Port Director for the Area Port of Philadelphia. “The U.S. Customs Service was founded in 1789 in part as a revenue collection agency, and revenue collection remains a Priority Trade Issue for today’s Customs and Border Protection. Enforcing duties on merchandise purchased on foreign soil is vital to the continued health of our nation’s economy.”
CBP collects over $30 billion annually, which is the second largest revenue generator for the U.S. government.