19 U.S. Code § 1609 - Seizure; summary forfeiture and sale

(a) 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.
(b) Effect
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 App. U.S.C. 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.

Source

(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.)
References in Text

Subsection O of section 30 of the Ship Mortgage Act, 1920 (46 App. U.S.C. 961), referred to in subsec. (b), was classified to section 961 of the former Appendix to Title 46, Shipping, and was repealed and partially reenacted in sections 31326 (a), 31327, 31328, and 31329 of Title 46, Shipping, by Pub. L. 100–710, title I, §§ 102(c), 106 (b)(2),Nov. 23, 1988, 102 Stat. 4738, 4752. Section 31328 of Title 46 was subsequently repealed by Pub. L. 104–324, title XI, § 1113(b)(1),Oct. 19, 1996, 110 Stat. 3970. Section 105(a) ofPub. L. 100–710, set out as a note preceding section 101 of Title 46, provides that a reference to a law replaced by section 102 ofPub. L. 100–710is deemed to refer to the corresponding provision of Pub. L. 100–710. For disposition of sections of the former Appendix to Title 46, see Disposition Table preceding section 101 of Title 46.
Prior Provisions

Provisions similar to those in this section were contained in act Sept. 21, 1922, ch. 356, title IV, § 609,42 Stat. 985. That section was superseded by section 609 of act June 17, 1930, comprising this section, and repealed by section 651(a)(1) of the 1930 act.
Provisions for sale of the property by the collector if no claim should be filed or bond given, were contained in R.S. § 3077, prior to repeal by act Sept. 21, 1922, ch. 356, title IV, § 642,42 Stat. 989.
Amendments

1988—Pub. L. 100–690amended section generally. Prior to amendment, section read as follows:
“(a) 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 (except as provided in subsection (b) of this section) shall deposit the proceeds of sale, after deducting expenses enumerated in section 1613 of this title into the Customs Forfeiture Fund.
“(b) During the period beginning on October 30, 1984, and ending on September 30, 1987, the appropriate customs officer shall deposit the proceeds of sale (after deducting such expenses) in the Customs Forfeiture Fund.”
1984—Pub. L. 98–573designated existing provisions as subsec. (a), inserted reference to aircraft, inserted “(except as provided in subsection (b) of this section)” after “according to law, and”, and added subsec. (b).
Pub. L. 98–473, § 321, inserted reference to aircraft.
Pub. L. 98–473, § 313, substituted “after deducting expenses enumerated in section 1613 of this title into the Customs Forfeiture Fund” for “after deducting the actual expenses of seizure, publication, and sale in the Treasury of the United States”.
1970—Pub. L. 91–271substituted reference to appropriate customs officer for reference to collector.
1938—Act June 25, 1938, inserted “or otherwise dispose of the same according to law” after “in the same manner as merchandise abandoned to the United States is sold”.
Effective Date of 1984 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 98–573effective Oct. 15, 1984, see section 214(e) ofPub. L. 98–573, set out as a note under section 1304 of this title.
Effective Date of 1970 Amendment

For effective date of amendment by Pub. L. 91–271, see section 203 ofPub. L. 91–271, set out as a note under section 1500 of this title.
Effective Date of 1938 Amendment

Amendment by act June 25, 1938, effective on thirtieth day following June 25, 1938, except as otherwise specifically provided, see section 37 of act June 25, 1938, set out as a note under section 1401 of this title.

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19 USCDescription of ChangeSession YearPublic LawStatutes at Large

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50 CFR - Wildlife and Fisheries

50 CFR Part 12 - SEIZURE AND FORFEITURE PROCEDURES

 

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