$20.7M in jewelry seized at Windsor-Detroit Tunnel

An assortment of confiscated jewelry is shown at the Windsor-Detroit Tunnel, November 16, 2020. Photo courtesy U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Border agents at the Windsor-Detroit Tunnel found a rather expensive shipment of undeclared bling on Monday.

According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, a courier delivering a package for a Detroit-based contact was stopped at the Detroit end of the tunnel. The package contained a collection of designer jewelry that was worth about $20.7 million, but border agents discovered that there was no manifest for the package, which is required whenever a courier service is used to transport goods over the border.

The driver was due to deliver the package to the Detroit contact, who would then pass it along to an auction house in New York. There, it would have been appraised and sold on behalf of its owner, a Canadian citizen, according to CBP.

The courier told agents they did not know what was in the package. The jewelry was seized and the courier was allowed to return to Canada. The CBP then informed the Canadian owner of the jewelry that the pieces were being confiscated based on importation contrary to law, and because they were not declared or manifested upon entry into the U.S.

CBP Port of Detroit Director Devin Chamberlain said while it may be true the courier was not aware of what was in the package, it is the responsibility of the traveller to know exactly what they are bringing over.

“For the travelling public, this example underscores the importance of knowing what is in their possession when attempting to make entry into the United States, and declaring it accordingly,” said Chamberlain. “Officers in Detroit did an excellent job in discovering and securing this high-value undeclared merchandise.”

Travel for non-essential reasons over the border remains prohibited due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, but the CBP has reminded people that all packages and bags are subject to search by border agents before travellers may enter the U.S. Some goods are subject to duty or importation regulations.