19 U.S.C. § 1584 - U.S. Code - Unannotated Title 19. Customs Duties § 1584. Falsity or lack of manifest;  penalties

(a) General rule

(1)  Any master of any vessel and any person in charge of any vehicle bound to the United States who does not produce the manifest to the officer (whether of the Customs Service or the Coast Guard) demanding the same shall be liable to a penalty of $1,000, and if any merchandise, including sea stores, is found on board of or after having been unladen from such vessel or vehicle which is not included or described in said manifest or does not agree therewith, the master of such vessel or the person in charge of such vehicle or the owner of such vessel or vehicle or any person directly or indirectly responsible for any discrepancy between the merchandise and said manifest shall be liable to a penalty equal to the lesser of $10,000 or the domestic value of the merchandise so found or unladen, and any such merchandise belonging or consigned to the master or other officer or to any of the crew of such vessel, or to the owner or person in charge of such vehicle, shall be subject to forfeiture, and if any merchandise described in such manifest is not found on board the vessel or vehicle the master or other person in charge or the owner of such vessel or vehicle or any person directly or indirectly responsible for any discrepancy between the merchandise and said manifest shall be subject to a penalty of $1,000:  Provided, That if the Customs Service shall be satisfied that the manifest was lost or mislaid without intentional fraud, or was defaced by accident, or is incorrect by reason of clerical error or other mistake and that no part of the merchandise not found on board was unshipped or discharged except as specified in the report of the master, said penalties shall not be incurred.  For purposes of this subsection, the term “clerical error” means a nonnegligent, inadvertent, or typographical mistake in the preparation, assembly, or submission (electronically or otherwise) of the manifest.

(2)  If any of such merchandise so found consists of heroin, morphine, cocaine, isonipecaine, or opiate, the master of such vessel or person in charge of such vehicle or the owner of such vessel or vehicle or any person directly or indirectly responsible for heroin, morphine, cocaine, isonipecaine, or opiate being in such merchandise shall be liable to a penalty of $1,000 for each ounce thereof so found.  If any of such merchandise so found consists of smoking opium, opium prepared for smoking, or marihuana, the master of such vessel or person in charge of such vehicle or the owner of such vessel or vehicle or any person directly or indirectly responsible for smoking opium, opium prepared for smoking, or marihuana being in such merchandise shall be liable to a penalty of $500 for each ounce thereof so found.  If any of such merchandise so found consists of crude opium, the master of such vessel or person in charge of such vehicle or the owner of such vessel or vehicle or any person directly or indirectly responsible for crude opium being in such merchandise shall be liable to a penalty of $200 for each ounce thereof so found.  Such penalties shall, notwithstanding the proviso in section 1594 of this title (relating to the immunity of vessels or vehicles used as common carriers), constitute a lien upon such vessel which may be enforced by a libel in rem;  except that the master or owner of a vessel used by any person as a common carrier in the transaction of business as such common carrier shall not be liable to such penalties and the vessel shall not be held subject to the lien, if it appears to the satisfaction of the court that neither the master nor any of the officers (including licensed and unlicensed officers and petty officers) nor the owner of the vessel knew, and could not, by the exercise of the highest degree of care and diligence, have known, that such narcotic drugs were on board.  Clearance of any such vessel may be withheld until such penalties are paid or until a bond, satisfactory to the Customs Service, is given for the payment thereof.  The provisions of this paragraph shall not prevent the forfeiture of any such vessel or vehicle under any other provision of law.  As used in this paragraph, the terms “opiate” and “marihuana” shall have the same meaning given those terms by sections 802(18) and 802(16), respectively, of Title 21.

(3)  If any of such merchandise (sea stores excepted), the importation of which into the United States is prohibited, be so found upon any vessel not exceeding five hundred net tons, the vessel shall, in addition to any other penalties herein or by law provided, be seized and forfeited.

(b) Procedures

(1)  If the Customs Service has reasonable cause to believe that there has been a violation of subsection (a)(1) of this section and determines that further proceedings are warranted, the Customs Service shall issue or electronically transmit to the person concerned a notice of intent to issue or electronically transmit a claim for a monetary penalty.  Such notice shall--

(A)  describe the merchandise;

(B)  set forth the details of the error in the manifest;

(C)  specify all laws and regulations allegedly violated;

(D)  disclose all the material facts which establish the alleged violation;

(E)  state the estimated loss of lawful duties, if any, and, taking into account all of the circumstances, the amount of the proposed monetary penalty;  and

(F)  inform such person that he will have a reasonable opportunity to make representations, both oral and written, as to why such penalty claim should not be issued.

No notice is required under this subsection for any violation of subsection (a)(1) of this section for which the proposed penalty is $1,000 or less.

(2)  After considering representations, if any, made by the person concerned pursuant to the notice issued under paragraph (1), the Customs Service shall determine whether any violation of subsection (a)(1) of this section, as alleged in the notice, has occurred.  If the Customs Service determines that there was no violation, the Customs Service shall promptly issue or electronically transmit a statement of the determination to the person to whom the notice was sent.  If the Customs Service determines that there was a violation, the Customs Service shall issue or electronically transmit a penalty claim to such person.  The penalty claim shall specify all changes in the information provided under subparagraphs (A) through (E) of paragraph (1).


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