Tuesday, February 11, 2014

$4 Million in Illegal Car Parts Seized at Port

By Mark Edward Nero

The US Customs & Border Patrol on Feb. 6 said that it has seized more than $4 million in illegal car parts at the Port of Oakland in a shipment from China falsely listed on the manifest as light-emitting diode power supplies.

Customs officials said that officers examining a commercial shipment at the port in mid-October found that instead of containing the LED supplies, it contained 25,600 high-intensity discharge (HID) conversion kits and ballasts, and that the kits’ street value runs anywhere from $150 to $500 apiece, bringing the total estimated value of the seizure to an estimated $4.1 million.

According to Customs, HID kits are used to convert stock vehicle headlights to higher-intensity HID lamps, and are regulated by US Department of Transportation.

Customs officials said they worked with the Department of Transportation to determine that the kits and ballasts weren’t in compliance with US standards and didn’t meet dimensional, electrical and marking requirements.

According to Customs, HID lights can be dangerous to other drivers because they’re very bright, and can result in fire hazards if they are improperly installed in vehicles.

“Products that do not comply with rigid safety standards present a significant hazard to consumers,” Brian Humphrey, Customs’ San Francisco field operations director, said in a statement.

The illegal parts, according to Customs, will likely be destroyed.