Best Smuggling Cases in U.S. History

I have taken it upon myself to utilize my 3L skills as an experienced legal researcher to uncover the best U.S. Smuggling Cases in the history of U.S. Smuggling Cases.  And in doing so, I earned enough Westlaw points to score a free golf tee warmer!  Enjoy the list.  

In re 1650 Cases of Seized Liquor, 721 A.2d 100 (Vt. 1998).

(That is a lot of liquor, even for Vermont.)


United States v. 2,180 Cases of Champagne, 9 F.2d 710 (2d Cir. 1926).

(Classy . . . Second Circuit in the 1920s?  On their way to Gatsby’s house, no doubt.)

Three Thousand Eight Hundred and Eighty Boxes of Opium v. United States, 23 F. 367 (C.C. Cal. 1883).

(SING ALONG!!!  Three Thousand Eight Hundred and Eighty Boxes of Opium on the wall, Three Thousand Eight Hundred and Eighty Boxes of Opium . . . take one down, pass it around, Three Thousand Eight Hundred and Seventy-Nine Boxes of Opium on the wall.  OK, too much typing for that one.)


The Ocean Bride, 1 Hask. 331 (D. Me. 1871).

(Unfortunately this case isn’t about a stolen mermaid—it’s just another “sea vessel full of liquor” situation.)

United States v. One Ford Coupe Automobile, 272 U.S. 321 (1926); United States v. One 1970 Buick Riviera, 463 F.2d 1168 (5th Cir. 1972); United States v. One Buick Coupe, 54 F.2d 800 (S.D. Fla. 1931).

 (Now in hindsight, were these attempted smugglings really worth it???  I mean, besides the sleek and luxurious Rivierathat would be AWESOME!)

 United States v. Two Mitsubishi Pick-up Trucks, 396 F. Supp. 2d 117 (D.P.R. 2005).

(Lesson: If you drive a Mitsubishi around Puerto Rico, you’re going to get pulled over.)

 United States v. 144,774 Pounds of Blue King Crab, more or less, 410 F.3d 1131 (9th Cir. 2005).

(Yes, more or less . . . give or take a Blue King Crab or two . . . I mean, once you go past 93,000 pounds or so, it’s kind of a pain counting ‘em all.)


United States v. 1,000 Raw Skins of Caiman Crocodilus Yacare, No. CV-88-3476, 1991 WL 41774 (E.D.N.Y. Mar. 14, 1991)

(Ooooooh . . . Yacare! . . . Gross!)

United States v. Miscellaneous Jewelry, 667 F. Supp. 232 (D. Md. 1987).

(Well, make up your mind, U.S.!  Exactly which of my miscellaneous jewelry do you want?  OK, listen!  You can take everything except my ’80s neon t-shirt clips!)


Various Items of Personal Property v. United States, 282 U.S. 577 (1931).

(Come on, this is totally unfair—it’s the Great Depression, and the U.S. is stealing people’s various items of personal property.  Well, this country was BUILT on VARIOUS ITEMS OF PERSONAL PROPERTY!  And the Guv’ment ain’t getting its grubby hands on MY VARIOUS ITEMS OF PERSONAL PROPERTY!!!  And anyway, it’s the GREAT DEPRESSION, so I ONLY OWN TWO “VARIOUS” ITEMS OF PERSONAL PROPERTY:  They are a Herbert Hoover 1928 campaign button and a rat ear.)


United States v. Approximately 1,170 Carats of Rough Diamonds Seized at John F. Kennedy International Airport on January 13, 2004, No. 05-CV-5816, 2008 WL 2884387 (E.D.N.Y. July 23, 2008).

(Now that’s more specific!)

United States v. Approximately 600 Sacks of Green Coffee Beans Seized from Café Rico, 381 F. Supp. 2d 57 (D.P.R. 2005).

(Yucky . . . green coffee beans?!? . . . What the heck?!  Were they being soaked in Yacare?!)

or . . . 

(As I was going to Café Rico, I met a man with 600 sacks.)

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