Times of crisis bring out the best and worst in people, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at the nation's ports of entry are on the lookout for the latter in cargo during the coronavirus outbreak.
On March 14, CBP announced that two days earlier it had seized a package at the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) international mail facility containing counterfeit COVID-19 test kits from the U.K.
The package was manifested as "purified water vials," with a declared value of $196.81, CBP said. Suspicious, the agency's officers examined the shipment and found vials containing a "white liquid" and labeled "Corona Virus 2019nconv (COVID-19)" and "Virus1 Test Kit."
The shipment was immediately handed over to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for further analysis.
"This significant interception, at a time when the U.S. is in the midst of a national emergency, demonstrates our CBP officers' vigilance and commitment to ensure dangerous goods are intercepted and not a threat to our communities and our people," Carlos C. Martel, CBP's director of field operations in Los Angeles, said in a statement.
CBP reminded the public that authorized diagnostic testing for COVID-19 is available through certified state and local public health laboratories throughout the U.S.
"The American public should be aware of bogus home testing kits for sale either online or in informal direct to consumer settings," the agency said.