19 USC § 1603
Seizure; warrants and reports
through Pub. L. 116-282, except Pub. L. 116-260

(a) Any property which is subject to forfeiture to the United States for violation of the customs laws and which is not subject to search and seizure in accordance with the provisions of section 1595 of this title, may be seized by the appropriate officer or person upon process issued in the same manner as provided for a search warrant under the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. This authority is in addition to any seizure authority otherwise provided by law.

(b) Whenever a seizure of merchandise for violation of the customs laws is made, or a violation of the customs laws is discovered, and legal proceedings by the United States attorney in connection with such seizure or discovery are required, it shall be the duty of the appropriate customs officer to report promptly such seizure or violation to the United States attorney for the district in which such violation has occurred, or in which such seizure was made, and to include in such report a statement of all the facts and circumstances of the case within his knowledge, with the names of the witnesses and a citation to the statute or statutes believed to have been violated, and on which reliance may be had for forfeiture or conviction.

References in Text

The Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, referred to in subsec. (a), are set out in the Appendix to Title 18, Crimes and Criminal Procedure.

Prior Provisions

Provisions similar to those in this section were contained in act Sept. 21, 1922, ch. 356, title IV, §603, 42 Stat. 984. That section was superseded by section 603 of act June 17, 1930, comprising this section, and repealed by section 651(a)(1) of the 1930 act.

A prior provision requiring the collector or other person causing a seizure to be made to give information thereof to the Solicitor of the Treasury, was contained in R.S. §3083, as amended by act Feb. 27, 1877, ch. 69, §1, 19 Stat. 247. R.S. §3084 required collectors to report to the district attorney of the district in which any fine, penalty, or forfeiture might be incurred, a statement of all the facts and circumstances. Officers of customs detecting violations of the customs laws were required to report to the collectors, and the latter were required to report to the district attorneys, by act June 22, 1874, ch. 391, §15, 18 Stat. 189. All of these sections were repealed by act Sept. 21, 1922, ch. 356, title IV, §§642, 643, 42 Stat. 989.


1988—Pub. L. 100–690, §7365, substituted "Seizure; warrants and reports" for "Seizure; customs officer's reports" in section catchline, added subsec. (a), and designated existing provisions as subsec. (b).

1978—Pub. L. 95–410 inserted "promptly" after "to report".

1970—Pub. L. 91–271 substituted reference to appropriate customs officer for reference to collector or principal local officer of Customs Agency Service.

1938—Act June 25, 1938, amended section generally.

Effective Date of 1970 Amendment

For effective date of amendment by Pub. L. 91–271, see section 203 of Pub. L. 91–271, set out as a note under section 1500 of this title.

Effective Date of 1938 Amendment

Amendment by act June 25, 1938, effective on thirtieth day following June 25, 1938, except as otherwise specifically provided, see section 37 of act June 25, 1938, set out as a note under section 1401 of this title.

Transfer of Functions

Functions of all other officers of Department of the Treasury and functions of all agencies and employees of such Department transferred, with certain exceptions, to Secretary of the Treasury, with power vested in him to authorize their performance or performance of any of his functions, by any of such officers, agencies, and employees, by Reorg. Plan No. 26 of 1950, §§1, 2, eff. July 31, 1950, 15 F.R. 4935, 64 Stat. 1280, 1281, set out in the Appendix to Title 5, Government Organization and Employees. Customs Service was under Department of the Treasury.

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