Monday, 24 March 2014 11:25

A Knock on my Snus Mailbox from US Customs and Border Protection!

Written by Larry Waters
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U.S. Customs and Border Protection As a grizzled old partisan of the Swedish Snus Wars, I've witnessed travesties of justice, science mocked while harmful profit and tax driven tobacco products flourished.  I've walked the smoke obscured corridors of the cigarette black market; both in the US and abroad.  Most of what I hear is laughter.

Post-PACT Act, the damning legislation which was going to crush the Seneca Indian Tribes of northern NY by violating their treaty rights to sell tobacco products NY tax free isn't working so well.  Latest numbers show that over 51% of cigarette and tobacco products sold in New York are Black Market goods!  Over half! 

NY is not alone in this either.  History shows that punitive taxes create and encourage the black market.

And now it gets personal.  I received a letter about 3 weeks from the Port of Cleveland office of US Customs and Border Patrol.

Why the Cleveland office? I have no idea; I didn't even know we had a Customs and Border Patrol office in Cleveland. Do they guard the Ohio border with W. Virginia or Michigan?

Essentially, they said they had intercepted a package somehow allegedly involving me containing 16 cans of "chewing tobacco" a year ago as contraband. They have determined it was not contraband and are willing to release it to me IF:

- I sign, have notarized, and return to them a Hold Harmless Agreement against the US government and everyone involved.

- It also contains a clause that I agree to pay all costs and charges including legal expenses.

I guess this would include at a minimum a year's worth of Customs warehouse storage fees and return shipping for 16 cans of long expired snus I don't even remember ordering? I don't think so.

I have 60 days to comply. I was tempted to just ignore the letter, invoke my diplomatic immunity, and let them destroy the now-useless snus but my curiosity has gotten the best of me.

I called and left a voicemail for Sharon Cummings, the contact person Customs/Border Protection, on this issue as directed.  I never received a response.

For your reading pleasure, here is a slightly redacted copy of the letter from US Customs and Border Protection including the Hold Harmless Release Agreement they would like my notarized signature on. 

I'm very interested in YOUR thoughts; what do you think this letter is trying to accomplish/entrap me into?  Would you have called them for more information as I did or buried your snus in the back yard?

I look forward to your comments and enjoy your Swedish snus!

LARRY WATERS

Swedish Snus Ambassador to the United States
Reporting for SnusCENTRAL.org

 

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