27.1003 Inspection of persons and incoming merchandise and baggage.

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(a) All persons entering or leaving American Samoa may be searched by a customs officer. All merchandise and baggage imported or brought into American Samoa from any foreign country shall be unladed in the presence of, and inspected by, a customs officer, and that officer may require the owner or his agent or other person having charge or possession of any trunk, traveling bag, sack, valise or other container, or any closed vehicle, to open it for inspection.

(b) The customs officer may inspect without warrant any person arriving in the Territory to determine whether such person is violating the laws and regulations pertaining to entry into American Samoa of individuals, vessels and goods. A strip search may be performed if there is real or reasonable suspicion supported by the objective and articulable facts that the passenger is concealing evidence of a crime or contraband upon his or her person.

(c) Security area:

(1) Any person who voluntarily enters a security area at the airport or seaport is subject to customs inspection as provided for in this section.

(2) Prospective passengers who enter a security area at the airport or seaport and later decide not to travel are required to return through customs inspection and clearance in the same manner as an arriving passenger on international travel.

(d) Without a search warrant but upon reasonable cause to suspect that the mail contains dutiable or prohibited items, designated customs officers of American Samoa may open or inspect the contents of mail in the customs inspection of mail which has originated outside the customs territory of American Samoa and is addressed for delivery inside American Samoa.

(e) The inspections may be conducted only in accordance with part 820, USPS Publication 42, International Mail, relating to cooperation with the U.S. Customs Service on inspection of imports.

(f) Unless any of the following actions are authorized by a search warrant issued under Rule 41 of the High Court Rules of Criminal Procedure, customs personnel shall not read, allow any other person to read, divulge, or transfer to any other person any correspondence contained in sealed mail; or divulge, read, allow any other person to read, or listen to any paper or recording which is correspondence for the blind contained in unsealed mail; or divulge, read, allow any other person to read, or transfer to any other person correspondence of school children in unsealed mail.

(g) Customs personnel shall not, without a search warrant, open, inspect, read, or seize any mail in postal custody which has not originated outside American Samoa or which has diplomatic or consular immunity from customs inspection (USPS Publication 42, International Mail, sections 821.la and 821.lb.).

History: 1963, PL 8-1; 1979, amd PL 16-19 § l; amd 1987, PL 20-29 § 7; 2008, PL 30-36.

Amendments: 1979 Added subsections (b) — (e); existing section designated subsection (a).

1987 Added persons and” before “incoming” In section title. Subsection (a): added new first sentence to permit search of persons.

Subsection (d): moved search warrant provision to beginning; deleted “nor may custom personnel”; added “or divulge, read”; deleted “permitted transmission” after “school children”.