I have a concern regarding the Customs officials’ station at the U.S. Post Office who’re demanding postal customers to surrender their mail or packages to be search and inspected.
I asked one of the Customs agents what gives them the authority to demand inspection and search a postal customer when federal law prohibit searching first class mail without a warrant? He pointed to a sign on the wall for me to read it. The sign cited Local Custom code 70-10.1-520. I researched the code and this is what I found:
“Pursuant to applicable U.S. Postal Service regulations and/or memorandum of agreement between U.S. Postal Service and the Commonwealth, mail and parcels arriving at the post office may be inspected by the Customs Service in order to detect goods, merchandise, or other commodities and to assess excise taxes; and to detect and intercept contraband; and to enforce other laws and regulations enforced at the ports of entry. (b)Customs Service will request addressees of mail or their designated representatives to open their mail and parcels for inspection.”
There was no mention what U. S. postal regulation it is, whether it is a federal statute or not. Memorandum of agreement is not a law enacted by Congress. Postal regulation or memorandum does have the authority to mandate a local agency to perform search and seizures.
It is very clear that the Constitution only permits search and seizure when there is reasonable suspicion, or a probable cause in case there isn’t any.
I am requesting that the attorney general investigate this matter in order that personal rights are not violated further. Any assistance will be much appreciated.