Interport Company Inc., a registered exporting and logistics business in Illinois and Florida, has reached a settlement of $50,000 to address allegations of insufficient screening of cargo bound for export to Central America, according to U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani. The company operates an office in Houston and ships goods and vehicles from Freeport and the Port of Houston.
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) mandates that exporters like Interport submit electronic filings with specific information for each international shipment. This process includes the screening of shipments for firearms and ammunition, as well as the provision of vehicle identification numbers (VIN) for vehicles in the shipments.
In 2020 and 2021, authorities inspected several shipping containers loaded by Interport that were headed for Central America. These inspections uncovered concealed firearms and ammunition within customer goods, as well as vehicles with VINs that differed from those provided by Interport on electronic forms. Consequently, CBP issued civil penalties for each violation discovered.
To settle the penalties without litigation and improve its screening practices, Interport agreed to pay $50,000. As part of the settlement, the company is required to hold quarterly meetings with CBP representatives at the Port of Houston to discuss additional compliance measures.
The investigation was conducted by CBP, with Assistant U.S. Attorney Brad Gray and Auditor Matt Prahl handling the case.
It is important to note that the claims resolved by the settlement are allegations and there has been no determination of liability.