An American sailing to Puerto Rico claims U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) seized his 46-foot sailboat after mistaking the cheap Dominican cigars they found below deck for Cuban stogies.
Jeff Southworth, a retired Ford Motor Company Engineer, said he and a friend were sailing the Janice Ann to Puerto Rico when local police stopped them a few miles offshore. CBP at the scene told Southworth to dock so they could search the vessel. Below the deck of the Janice Ann they found 33 boxes of cigars. Customs officers then handcuffed Southworth, intending to seize the $90,000 sailboat.
Eventually officers gave him an Assent to Forfeiture form listing the 33 cigar boxes. Southworth said he signed the form thinking only the cigars would be taken. He claimed he had not slept in 40 hours or eaten in 15 hours. Instead, he said, the CBP confiscated his entire boat and the $2,000 on board.
Is this America, or what?