(a)Any of the officers or persons authorized to board or search vessels may stop, search, and examine, as well without as within their respective districts, any vehicle, beast, or person, on which or whom he or they shall suspect there is merchandise which is subject to duty, or shall have been introduced into the United States in any manner contrary to law, whether by the person in possession or charge, or by, in, or upon such vehicle or beast, or otherwise, and to search any trunk or envelope, wherever found, in which he may have a reasonable cause to suspect there is merchandise which was imported contrary to law; and if any such officer or other person so authorized shall find any merchandise on or about any such vehicle, beast, or person, or in any such trunk or envelope, which he shall have reasonable cause to believe is subject to duty, or to have been unlawfully introduced into the United States, whether by the person in possession or charge, or by, in, or upon such vehicle, beast, or otherwise, he shall seize and secure the same for trial.
(b)Any officer or employee of the United States conducting a search of a person pursuant to subsection (a) of this section shall not be held liable for any civil damages as a result of such search if the officer or employee performed the search in good faith and used reasonable means while effectuating such search.
R.S. § 3061 derived from act July 18, 1866, ch. 201, § 3,14 Stat. 178.
2002—Pub. L. 107–210designated existing provisions as subsec. (a) and added subsec. (b).
Effective Date of 2002 Amendment
Amendment by Pub. L. 107–210applicable to petitions for certification filed under part 2 or 3 of subchapter
II of chapter
12 of this title on or after the date that is 90 days after Aug. 6, 2002, except as otherwise provided, see section 151 ofPub. L. 107–210, set out as a note preceding section
2271 of this title.
Requirement To Post Policy and Procedures for Searches of Passengers
Pub. L. 107–210, div. A, title III, § 341(b),Aug. 6, 2002, 116 Stat. 980, provided that: “Not later than 30 days after the date of the enactment of this Act [Aug. 6, 2002], the Commissioner of Customs shall ensure that at each Customs border facility appropriate notice is posted that provides a summary of the policy and procedures of the Customs Service for searching passengers, including a statement of the policy relating to the prohibition on the conduct of profiling of passengers based on gender, race, color, religion, or ethnic background.”
[For transfer of functions, personnel, assets, and liabilities of the United States Customs Service of the Department of the Treasury, including functions of the Secretary of the Treasury relating thereto, to the Secretary of Homeland Security, and for treatment of related references, see sections
557 of Title
6, Domestic Security, and the Department of Homeland Security Reorganization Plan of November 25, 2002, as modified, set out as a note under section
542 of Title
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