View all text of Part V [§ 1581 - § 1631]

§ 1609.
Seizure; summary forfeiture and sale
In general

If no such claim is filed or bond given within the twenty days hereinbefore specified, the appropriate customs officer shall declare the vessel, vehicle, aircraft, merchandise, or baggage forfeited, and shall sell the same at public auction in the same manner as merchandise abandoned to the United States is sold or otherwise dispose of the same according to law, and shall deposit the proceeds of sale, after deducting the expenses described in section 1613 of this title, into the Customs Forfeiture Fund.


A declaration of forfeiture under this section shall have the same force and effect as a final decree and order of forfeiture in a judicial forfeiture proceeding in a district court of the United States. Title shall be deemed to vest in the United States free and clear of any liens or encumbrances (except for first preferred ship mortgages pursuant to subsection O of section 30 of the Ship Mortgage Act, 1920 (46 U.S.C. App. 961) or any corresponding revision, consolidation, and enactment of such subsection in title 46) from the date of the act for which the forfeiture was incurred. Officials of the various States, insular possessions, territories, and commonwealths of the United States shall, upon application of the appropriate customs officer accompanied by a certified copy of the declaration of forfeiture, remove any recorded liens or encumbrances which apply to such property and issue or reissue the necessary certificates of title, registration certificates, or similar documents to the United States or to any transferee of the United States.

(June 17, 1930, ch. 497, title IV, § 609, 46 Stat. 755; June 25, 1938, ch. 679, § 28(b), 52 Stat. 1089; Pub. L. 91–271, title III, § 301(b), June 2, 1970, 84 Stat. 287; Pub. L. 98–473, title II, §§ 313, 321, Oct. 12, 1984, 98 Stat. 2054, 2056; Pub. L. 98–573, title II, § 213(a)(6), Oct. 30, 1984, 98 Stat. 2985; Pub. L. 100–690, title VII, § 7367(b), Nov. 18, 1988, 102 Stat. 4479.)