Germany helps U.S. Customs stop illegal pharma shipment.
U.S. and German customs authorities recently teamed up to stop a large shipment of smuggled prescription drugs from entering the United States, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said.
Acting on a tip from the German Customs Investigation Bureau, Zollkriminalamt,
CBP officers at San Francisco International Airport's mail facility intercepted numerous parcels with 20,000 Zolpidem pills that originated in India and transited Germany. CBP's Pharmaceutical Center for Excellence and Expertise in New York was able to provide the targeting information to officers about which air containers to inspect.
Zolpidem is used to treat insomnia.
The Food and Drug Administration has approved 13 manufacturers in several countries to make the drug, but none are in India.
The seizure is the latest example of enforcement collaboration between CBP and foreign customs services. In march, French Customs helped CBP seize 400 pills of Carisoprodol, another controlled substance. A month-long enforcement operation involving China's General Administration of Customs recently resulted in the seizure of 243,000 counterfeit electronic products emulating brands such as Apple, Beats by Dr. Dre, Blackberry, Samsung, Sony and UL, and the arrest of a man in New Orleans.
The CEEs ostensibly were set up to standard enforcement efforts related to customs, import safety and other trade violations, but the virtual centers also have data and expertise to help officers at ports of entry identify suspicious shipments.
Aeroflex takes steps to prevent additional export violations.
Aeroflex, a maker of highly specialized test and measurement equipment and microelectronics, has signed a consent agreement and will pay a $4 million civil penalty to resolve alleged export violations involving sensitive defense-related technology, the U.S. State Department said Friday.
The Plainview, N.Y., company allegedly violated the Arms Export Control Act and made International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) violations hundreds of times over a decade, beginning in 1999. State Department's Office of Defense Trade Controls Compliance determined that Aeroflex demonstrated inadequate corporate oversight and a systemic and corporate-wide failure to properly determine export control jurisdiction over commodities.
The department agreed to the consent agreement
because Aeroflex voluntarily disclosed nearly all the violations, largely consisting of unauthorized exports resulting from the failure to properly establish jurisdiction over defense articles and technical data. The violations included unauthorized exports and re-exports of ITAR-controlled electronics, microelectronics, and technical data and causing unauthorized exports of microelectronics by domestic purchasers.
Under the consent agreement, the State Department agreed to suspend half of the $8 million civil penalty on the condition the department approves expenses the company has incurred on its own to fix its internal controls. Regulators will also conduct two audits of Aeroflex's compliance program during the agreement's term. The company must also implement additional measures, such as improving policies and procedures and providing additional staff training.
The State Department said Aeroflex has restructured its compliance operations and instituted a new testing protocol of its commodities, and revised its ITAR compliance program. Those remedial steps led the department to abstain from debarring Aeroflex from the export of defense articles. - Eric Kulisch