Smuggling on the rise in US: Report

Seizures by USCBP are up 35 percent in the fiscal year 2010 from 2009.

Updated: Apr 09, 2011, 12:48 PM IST

New York: Smuggling is on the rise in the US, with seizures by the country`s customs department are up 35 percent in the fiscal year 2010 from 2009, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The US Customs and Border Protection (USCBP) has intensified a crackdown on fake goods at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, California, the report said.

The ports account for about 40 percent of all seizures by the USCBP, reflecting their status as the nation`s busiest port complex and as the main cargo gateway from Asia, "whose workshops are as good at making knock-offs as they are at making the real thing", the paper said.

About 50,000 cargo containers a day, laden with USD 1 billion worth of goods, move through the local ports.

"Each 40-foot container is large enough to carry about 12,300 shoe-boxes, 20,000 toy dolls or 6,600 dresses on hangers," it said.

Due to technological advances, counterfeiting iPhones, PlayStation game consoles and other goods has never been easier, and selling them has gotten easier too, as the advent of online markets such as Craigslist and eBay has allowed smugglers to bypass fences in the criminal underworld and sell directly to consumers, the paper said.

Apprehending contraband shipments has never been harder as smugglers also have gotten wiser, mixing in their wares with legitimate shipments to make detection more difficult.

"We`re not seeing containers that are just filled with contraband like we used to. We`re seizing smaller amounts, but we`re finding it more often," Todd Hoffman, USCBP director at the ports, was quoted as saying.