An exporting and logistics business has agreed to pay $50,000 to resolve allegations it insufficiently screened cargo bound for export to Central America, announced U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani.
Interport Company Inc. is registered in Illinois and Florida. It maintains an office in Houston and ships goods and vehicles from Freeport and the Port of Houston.
Exporters such as Interport are required to submit electronic filings containing certain information for each international shipment pursuant to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) regulations. As part of that process, they are required to screen shipments for firearms and ammunition. They must also provide vehicle identification numbers (VIN) for any vehicles in their shipments.
During 2020 and 2021, authorities inspected various shipping containers destined for Central America that Interport had loaded. Those inspections revealed hidden firearms and ammunition contained within customer goods, along with vehicles whose VINs differed from the ones Interport had submitted on electronic forms. As a result, CBP assessed civil penalties for each violation it discovered.
Interport agreed to pay $50,000 to satisfy those penalties without litigation and to enhance its screening of customer shipments in the future. As part of the settlement, Interport must meet on a quarterly basis with CBP representatives at the Port of Houston to discuss additional compliance measures.
CBP conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Brad Gray and Auditor Matt Prahl handled the matter.