The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced Thursday that it is modifying its processes regarding the Notice of Seizure and Intent to Forfeit for administrative forfeitures, with the goal of making the forfeiture process more efficient.
Historically, CBP has waited until the conclusion of the administrative process before publishing the Notice of Seizure and Intent to Forfeit online or posting it in the appropriate U.S. Customhouse or U.S. Border Patrol Station or Sector office. This practice is changing to coincide the first written Notice of Seizure sent to identified interested parties with the publication and posting of the Notice of Seizure and Intent to Forfeit.
CBP's authority to administratively forfeit property hinges on specific conditions, typically involving conveyances used to unlawfully import, export, transport, or store a controlled substance or prohibited chemical. CBP may also forfeit prohibited merchandise, monetary instruments, or other property valued under $500,000.
The administrative forfeiture process, as regulated by the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act of 2000 (CAFRA) or the Tariff Act of 1930, initiates with the mailing of a Notice of Seizure to any identified party potentially having an interest in the property. The recipient then has a set period to file a claim or petition with CBP or offer a compromise.
In addition to mailing the Notice of Seizure, CBP will also publish a Notice of Seizure and Intent to Forfeit on the official government forfeiture website, www.forfeiture.gov. This notice, viewable for at least 30 consecutive days, serves to inform the public of the impending forfeiture, allowing any interested party who did not receive a mailed notice to file a claim with CBP.
Under the new publication timeline, both potentially interested parties and the public will be notified of the seizure and impending administrative forfeiture simultaneously. This change applies to all properties seized by CBP eligible for administrative forfeiture, including those processed on behalf of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations. However, it does not apply to Schedule I and Schedule II controlled substances, which are summarily forfeited without notice.
The efficiency gained from this new process will allow for quicker identification of all parties with a potential interest in the property, decrease overall processing time for seizures, and reduce resources expended on storage, inventory, and other administrative functions related to managing seized property.
CBP emphasizes that this procedural change does not affect the rights or obligations of any interested party. All deadlines for filing for relief remain unchanged by this modification.
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