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US Customs destroying person property without reasonable suspicion


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#1 short

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 05:33 AM

Last year I mailed souveniors back to me to save waiting in the luggage line at LAX. When the package arrived, several pieces had been carved up by US Customs. (left left their mark).

Today when I came through LAX customs, agents were cutting up travelors clothing, shoes etc. I saw no sign of suspicion.

If you must travel through LAX, don't bring anything of value.
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#2 gimmble

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 05:45 AM

and all of a sudden you have become at highly trained customs expert that knows what to look for :clueless
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#3 tomcat76

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 08:05 AM

There's got to be more to this. Perhaps they were knockoffs, or undeclared items...really can't guess. But although I'm certainly no great fan of what Islam has done to our freedoms, I just have to think this was not totally indiscriminate.

That said, I make it a point to not travel with expensive stuff for multiple reasons.

Edited by tomcat76, 03 January 2013 - 08:07 AM.

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#4 LasRobos

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 08:35 AM

There's got to be more to this. Perhaps they were knockoffs, or undeclared items...


This was the first thought that came to my mind as well. A couple of years ago I spoke with an off-duty customs officer. He said the specific policy handed down to him was to allow knockoffs as long as there were no more than one of any item, i.e., one purse, one coat, one watch, etc. I did not think to ask him what they do if multiple items were detected.
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#5 nkped

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 08:46 AM

My thought was that they were looking for drugs. Knock-offs could be seized but there would be paperwork required.
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#6 Bullfrog

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 08:53 AM

My thought was that they were looking for drugs. Knock-offs could be seized but there would be paperwork required.


On one of these "reality" tv shows on customs they showed the officials cutting clothes and drilling holes into shoes that were fakes..
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#7 tomcat76

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 09:20 AM

This was the first thought that came to my mind as well. A couple of years ago I spoke with an off-duty customs officer. He said the specific policy handed down to him was to allow knockoffs as long as there were no more than one of any item, i.e., one purse, one coat, one watch, etc. I did not think to ask him what they do if multiple items were detected.


I've heard this as well (the 'one allowed' rule), but only as hearsay. 'Don't go in much for the whole knockoff thing myself much anyway.
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#8 MONKEY01

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 09:44 AM

bullshit its done in a sterile room where they can test whatever they find check the tv program
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#9 js007

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 03:12 PM

I've seen them pick out people for special searches, but I never saw they cutting up any clothes. I've never had a problem in LA, Detroit, Minneapolis, or JFK. They just waive me through.
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#10 darkmancomes

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 03:24 PM

In a lot of cases the "knockoffs " are of equally good quality and some even coming from a sub contractors factory of where the originals are made. So lets not loose a main point here ! TAXES and REVENUE !
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#11 short

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 04:43 PM

I highly doubt that the reed place mats I bought on beach road would be viewed as knockoffs. But yet customs shredded them.
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#12 kosman

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 07:34 PM

I highly doubt that the reed place mats I bought on beach road would be viewed as knockoffs. But yet customs shredded them.


Probably because they are made of unprocessed plant material and not allowed into the USA. Probably the same rules in most other western countries. Same reason you are not supposed to bring live orchids back.

Just my two baht worth of thinking. time is slowing down until my trip. Days are starting to get longer and longer.

Edited by kosman, 04 January 2013 - 11:07 AM.

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#13 jacko

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 12:11 AM

Last year I mailed souveniors back to me to save waiting in the luggage line at LAX. When the package arrived, several pieces had been carved up by US Customs. (left left their mark).

Today when I came through LAX customs, agents were cutting up travelors clothing, shoes etc. I saw no sign of suspicion.

If you must travel through LAX, don't bring anything of value.

It seems strange to me, surely packing and shipping of things from Thailand to the USA would be more onerous that simply waiting by the carousel for a suitcase. Not to mention more expensive....presuming of course nothing oversized.

But a good heads up for guys going to LAX.
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#14 short

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 05:32 AM

It seems strange to me, surely packing and shipping of things from Thailand to the USA would be more onerous that simply waiting by the carousel for a suitcase. Not to mention more expensive....presuming of course nothing oversized.

But a good heads up for guys going to LAX.


You are corrrect. The cost of packing and shipping the items was much more than I had expected and actually more than the cost of the items shipped. That caught me by surprise.

The way that they work shredding the clothes at lax is how you would have done it if you were looking for drugs, not knock offs.

But they still shreaded my place mats and put them back in the box with a customs letter attached to them.

Edited by short, 04 January 2013 - 05:36 AM.

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#15 steamer

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 05:50 AM

Funny, I just watched a programme on TV and the US customs agents were using box cutters on luggage etc looking for drugs. Surely they can't be right 100% of the time and they have no obligation to fix your stuff afterwards.
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#16 tomcat76

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 10:14 AM

If there's not actually more to this, then I'm sure the ACLU would love to hear from you. I've been through LAX countless times and have neither experienced anything like this nor witnessed anything like this. Have certainly seen my share of folks being searched (sans box cutters). I believe I'll remain calm for now and not go looking for trouble with CBP nor start doing anything different.
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#17 Gary

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 02:03 PM

I have been in the little room twice where they strip everything including your wallet and ex-ray your shoes. They did not destroy anything and except being a major pain in the ass, nothing was damaged.
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#18 jacko

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 11:12 PM

You kind of wonder whether there is more likelihood of drugs being smuggled out of Los Angeles than in!
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#19 steamer

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 01:33 AM

You kind of wonder whether there is more likelihood of drugs being smuggled out of Los Angeles than in!


goin' where?
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#20 jacko

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 01:44 AM

goin' where?

Somewhere else...... check Charlie Sheen's suitcase!

Edited by jacko, 05 January 2013 - 01:45 AM.

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#21 steamer

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 02:57 AM

Somewhere else...... check Charlie Sheen's suitcase!


Whilst they want to catch everyone smuggling drugs it's the big stuff that they want. Drugs mostly come into the states whether it's coke, Heroin, Ecstasy or weed. If someone truly wants to export it'd be much easier to go thru Canada and not bother with the Yankee Nazis.

Edited by steamer, 05 January 2013 - 05:29 AM.

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#22 MrMango

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 03:40 AM

Whilst they want to catch everyone smuggling drugs it's the big stuff they want. Drugs mostly come into the states whether it's coke, Heroin, Ecstasy or weed. If someone truly wants to export it'd be much easier to go thru Canada and not bother with the Yankee Nazis.

I read somewhere that informants is the reason for the US to seize 90% of drugs.

The Airport search is just a kubiki dance.
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#23 Sinistersinner

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 05:16 AM

I know they also check for questionable photos you might have saved on either your hard drive and/or your digital camera..

I went. Through a secondary search where they located some knock-offs, set them aside and asked to see my camera, and all digital images that were on my computer..

Fortunately, there was nothing there that was questionable, and let me through.

In speaking to the Customs Agent, they sometimes profile certain age groups of men traveling alone from South East Asia, where individuals might travel to partake in activities that they know to be illegal.

What these people don't know (and I'm talking in non specific terms) is regardless of it being "legal" in the country they just came from, does not matter. They are still held to the strict guidelines of what may or may not be considered legal activity in the United States.

I travel to Thailand and the Philippines for months at a time, therefore carry a lot of luggage ( I still can't pack for a trip, and tend to bring to much). Seeing so much luggage for one person will also trigger their interest, and cause them to ask a few questions.

They are looking at you and your demeanor once they stop you and make certain inquiries. I tend to bring one or two SD Cards with me for photos, and do not bring any Movies or TV shows on DVD as that will trigger their interest in the DVDs regardless if the title is National Geographic or Movies deemed acceptable, as individuals tend to hide questionable materials in an acceptable title.

All people have to do if they want to fuck with you is call the US Customs hotline, give them information, and they will flag your passport for secondary searches, they also target people who have failed to maintain child support, as well as those individuals who might have warrants for arrest. If you fall into that category, they will also take you into custody..

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#24 steamer

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 05:31 AM

I know they also check for questionable photos you might have saved on either your hard drive and/or your digital camera..

I went. Through a secondary search where they located some knock-offs, set them aside and asked to see my camera, and all digital images that were on my computer..

Fortunately, there was nothing there that was questionable, and let me through.

In speaking to the Customs Agent, they sometimes profile certain age groups of men traveling alone from South East Asia, where individuals might travel to partake in activities that they know to be illegal.

What these people don't know (and I'm talking in non specific terms) is regardless of it being "legal" in the country they just came from, does not matter. They are still held to the strict guidelines of what may or may not be considered legal activity in the United States.

I travel to Thailand and the Philippines for months at a time, therefore carry a lot of luggage ( I still can't pack for a trip, and tend to bring to much). Seeing so much luggage for one person will also trigger their interest, and cause them to ask a few questions.

They are looking at you and your demeanor once they stop you and make certain inquiries. I tend to bring one or two SD Cards with me for photos, and do not bring any Movies or TV shows on DVD as that will trigger their interest in the DVDs regardless if the title is National Geographic or Movies deemed acceptable, as individuals tend to hide questionable materials in an acceptable title.

All people have to do if they want to fuck with you is call the US Customs hotline, give them information, and they will flag your passport for secondary searches, they also target people who have failed to maintain child support, as well as those individuals who might have warrants for arrest. If you fall into that category, they will also take you into custody..


Funny, how the agents in Minny were more interested in the sandwich that I had with me from the plane than they were with the loose tea that I had brought from Thailand. :ninja:

Edited by steamer, 05 January 2013 - 05:35 AM.

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#25 tomcat76

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 10:31 AM

I know they also check for questionable photos you might have saved on either your hard drive and/or your digital camera..

I went. Through a secondary search where they located some knock-offs, set them aside and asked to see my camera, and all digital images that were on my computer..

Fortunately, there was nothing there that was questionable, and let me through.

In speaking to the Customs Agent, they sometimes profile certain age groups of men traveling alone from South East Asia, where individuals might travel to partake in activities that they know to be illegal.

What these people don't know (and I'm talking in non specific terms) is regardless of it being "legal" in the country they just came from, does not matter. They are still held to the strict guidelines of what may or may not be considered legal activity in the United States.

I travel to Thailand and the Philippines for months at a time, therefore carry a lot of luggage ( I still can't pack for a trip, and tend to bring to much). Seeing so much luggage for one person will also trigger their interest, and cause them to ask a few questions.

They are looking at you and your demeanor once they stop you and make certain inquiries. I tend to bring one or two SD Cards with me for photos, and do not bring any Movies or TV shows on DVD as that will trigger their interest in the DVDs regardless if the title is National Geographic or Movies deemed acceptable, as individuals tend to hide questionable materials in an acceptable title.

All people have to do if they want to fuck with you is call the US Customs hotline, give them information, and they will flag your passport for secondary searches, they also target people who have failed to maintain child support, as well as those individuals who might have warrants for arrest. If you fall into that category, they will also take you into custody..


WRT what's legal abroad vs in the US, there is no federal prohibition on prostitution in the USA. It's states & localities that prohibit it or not. Drugs, yes. Human trafficking, yes. Child porno, yes. But prostitution, no. That said, porno of any kind on your cam or laptop will no doubt excite further interest in you if they get that far. But why have it there?
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