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Jurisdiction: What Is It, and Why Does It Matter?

What is it? Basically jurisdiction is the extent of the power of a court or law enforcement agency. That extent includes both geographical scope and the scope of issues over which the court or agency has power.

Why does that matter?

Let’s say that I live in Dallas County, Texas. That’s adjacent to Tarrant County, Texas. Let’s say that Tarrant County has an ordinance prohibiting the use of cell phones while driving, but Dallas County does not. I’m driving through Tarrant County while talking on my cell phone, so a deputy from the Tarrant County sheriff’s department stops me and writes me a citation for violating the ordinance. He can do that; he’s within his jurisdiction.

But what if I’m driving in Dallas County while talking on my cell phone, and a Tarrant County deputy stops me and writes me a citation for violating the ordinance? Now that’s a problem. He’s not within his geographical jurisdiction, and neither am I. My conduct does not violate an ordinance in Dallas County.

What if I’m back in Tarrant County and driving while talking on my cell phone. The Tarrant County deputy stops me and writes me a citation for being tuned in to a contemporary Christian music station. He’s within his geographical jurisdiction, but now he is acting outside the scope of issues over which the Tarrant County sheriff’s department has power. They do not have the power to regulate what radio stations I listen to.

Silly Examples?

Yes, but they illustrate the point, and the point can be extremely serious, fundamental, even. A federal marshal has the authority to arrest me for possession of illegal drugs, but not for proclaiming to be a Christian, or a Muslim, or an atheist, and not for looking suspicious because I have too many body piercings or tattoos, or because I look like I have a certain ethnic background.

In the United States we are a democracy which has declared itself free and then granted the government certain rights to control us. When the government attempts to control us beyond the extent to which we have granted control, it acts outside its jurisdiction, which the law does not allow.

About the Author

Faiz Adnan is a very experienced Syariah Lawyer in Singapore and a founder of Faiz Law Firm Pte Ltd which has over 60 people of lawyer team. In addition, he was one of the speaker of many Islamic legal conference held in United State of America and United Kingdom.

Documentation & Fees Overview


Customs, Agriculture Declaration Form

Passengers and crew arriving into Guam off any commercial vessel, or off any commercial or military aircraft are required to submit a Customs and Agriculture Declaration form allowing passengers to declare all customs and agriculture related merchandise that may pose a risk to our island. These forms are available in English, Japanese, Chinese, and Korean.

Each head of household is required to complete a Customs, Agriculture Declaration Form of which up to five family members may be listed. If you have more family members than the form will allow you to list, you may use additional forms as required. This form is provided to each passenger and crew member by their airline representative several hours prior to arriving into Guam.

All questions must be completed with black or blue ink, or pencil. The first page must be filled out completely, with the reverse page of questions optional. Please answer all questions truthfully and to the best of your ability. Remember to place your signature and date, certifying the declaration made.

Upon arrival into Guam, and after you have claimed all your luggage, proceed to the nearest primary customs counter with your family members, and present this form.

Because this Customs, Agriculture Declaration Form is machine readable, only original red-colored printed forms will be accepted. No duplicates of this form are allowed for official declaration and submission.

Airline or vessel agents that require additional inventory of Customs and Agriculture Declaration Forms in any of the four languages, please contact the Guam Visitor’s Bureau at 646-5278/9.


This is a general checklist of documents used in international & domestic trade. The number of copies required follows below; however, in general, comply with importer’s or shipper’s instructions when additional copies are requested. The following are documentary requirements subscribers must meet when shipping to Guam which shall be provided to the Customs and Quarantine Agency when presenting cargo for clearance.

House Airway Bill or Bill of Lading:

This is a single house airway bill or bill of lading that provides shipping information such as carrier, sender address, receiver address, general commodity description, origin of commodities, weight of commodities in kilograms, quantity, etc. (This document is usually provided by the shipper.)

Master Airway Bill or Bills of Lading:

This master airway bill or bill of lading is only required if the shipment consolidates more than one house or carrier airway bill or bill of lading. (This document is usually provided by the shipper.) Consignment Manifest: Consignment manifest is a document that lists each house or carrier airway bill or bill of lading under a master airway bill or bill of lading. (This document is usually provided by the shipper.)

Commercial/Proforma Invoice:

Invoice should also include company name, address, telephone, and fax number. Two copies are usually required. For commercial shipments, exporters must issue a commercial invoice (in number of copies requested by importer), which must be signed by the seller, shipper or their agent. Detailed listing of commodities and quantities written in the English language, unit and total prices in U.S. dollars is required. Include special markings; number of packages; the country of origin and, if different, the country of production. (This document is not provided by the shipper.)

Packing Lists: All household goods imports must be accompanied with a packing list. A packing list is required for ease of inspection. (Outer containers should be numbered corresponding with the packing list unless the contents can be readily identified without numbers). (This document is not provided by the shipper.)


Certificate of Origin:

A certificate of origin is required only for certain commodities that also require entry permits. (This document is not provided by the shipper.)

Other Customs Related Documents Entry Permits: Dogs and cats can be imported into Guam, but must have a valid Entry Permit issued by the Department of Agriculture. Mailing address is Animal & Plant Industry, Animal Health Section, 192 Dairy Road, Mangilao, Guam USA 96913. For complete details and more information, contact telephone (671) 734-3943; (671) 735-3950; (671) 735-3950 Fax: (671) 734-6569; or email Mary Su for more information. Importers, please contact the Department of Agriculture at least 90 days prior to intended date of importation to satisfy all entry requirements based on your animal’s entry status. This paragraph updated as of August 29, 2019.

Sanitary Certificates: Information on inspection procedures may be obtained from the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), U.S.

Special Permits: Special permits and certificates are required for the importation of hazardous chemicals, biological materials, fish, wildlife, certain fruits and vegetables, plants and plant products, as well as other specified commodities not already listed because of the breadth of information.


U.S. Shipper’s Export Declaration: Certain commodities exceeding $2,500 in value exported from Guam destined to foreign countries must be reported using a declaration form provided by your shipper of choice. This is not required on shipments from the U.S. or its territories into Guam or visa versa. (This document is provided by the shipper.)


This is a general checklist of fees assessed in international & domestic trade. Not all fees may be applicable. Read each described fee for applicability.

Customs, Agriculture, and Quarantine Inspection Services Charge:

A document processing service charge at a Customs and Quarantine Agency cargo and maritime facilities will be assessed to the consignee or his agent, upon the presentation of waybills for clearance by a Customs and Quarantine Officer. A service charge of $5.00 is assessed per single unconsolidated consignment/waybill, and up to $25.00 per consolidated consignments where multiple house waybills exist. Exemptions apply to certain types of commodities such as government owned commodities, and documents less than 1 kilogram.

Customs and Quarantine Carrier Off-Duty Services Charge:

The Customs and Quarantine Agency may assess a Customs Carrier Off-Duty Service Charge. This charge varies according to the officer’s hourly wage based on a formula, plus an administrative charge of $2.00USD per officer. Payment is the responsibility of the person who requested customs inspection services.


Use Tax: a Use Tax declaration is required by the consignee or his agent upon presentation of documents (Use Tax forms are available at the customs offices) for personal or business goods imported into any Guam Customs and Quarantine inspection facility, for personal or business use not intended for resale, in excess of the $1000USD exemption per month, per person, or up to $5,000USD per calendar year. The Use Tax rate is four percent (4%) of the commodity’s declared value, and collected prior to customs document clearance. (The Use Tax declaration is normally filed by the agent or person presenting goods for clearance, and its value is re-verified by customs officials where necessary).

Exemptions: articles such as bonafide gifts and goods acquired abroad in value up to $1,000 per person for personal use in any thirty day period up to $5,000 in a calendar year are exempt from paying a 4% Use Tax. Personal effects being brought into Guam by residents returning from studies, government scholarships or in-service training are exempted from Use Tax.

If you have commodities that you plan to export outside of Guam, with the intent to reimport them, (assuming no alteration or repairs were made to it), you may want to fill out a CQ008 Certificate of Prior Possession Form. This form will certify that your goods were inspected by a customs officer prior to its export. Upon re-importation into Guam, present this form together with your commodities to a customs officer conducting your commodities clearance. This will prevent you from being assessed a Use Tax that may have already been assessed at its initial importation into Guam.

Cigarette Tax: the Customs & Quarantine Agency assesses a tax upon the importation of cigarettes into Guam at a pre-determined rate as prescribed by Guam law.

Complaints or Comments?

The Internal Affairs Section of the Guam Customs and Quarantine Agency is responsible for reviewing and inspecting the functions of the agency to ensure employees comply with policies, procedures and regulations.

The Internal Affairs also engage in activities to identify weaknesses in the customs administration and operations. Most officer manhours are invested in conducting investigations of misfeasance and non-feasance that may result in adverse action. Additional responsibilities include reviewing employee infractions, and assisting the Director in preparing adverse action notices. 

Investigators are continually reviewing and submitting recommendations that will promote ethical practice and improve employee discipline through sound recommendations. Other duties include maintaining personnel records of disciplinary action; coordinating with Civil Service Commission and other agencies regarding adverse action matters; coordinating with superiors.

Leave a Message

If you have concerns or questions about anything, you may leave a telephonic message on our 24-hour answering machine at (671) 475-6247. We will return your call and assist you with your concerns.

File a Complaint

To file a complaint against a member of the Customs and Quarantine Agency of Guam, simply prepare a complaint letter on regular bond paper, handwritten, or typed.  Please include the following:

Date and Time of Incident; Location of Incident; Name, Badge Number, or Description of Officers Involved; Details of the Incident such as Flight Number, Etc.; and Your Contact Telephone Numbers, Email Address, and Signature

You may also opt to print out the Complaint Form as a pdf.file.  You would need to have a pdf Acrobat reader installed on your computer to open this file.  Download the Adobe PDF reader.

Send the complaint letter or form, and questionnaire to the Customs and Quarantine Agency via mail or fax. Upon the agency receiving your complaint letter or form, an Internal Affairs Investigator will contact you for follow ups until your concerns are addressed appropriately. If you have any questions about filing a complaint, please call (671) 475-6247/8, (671) 475-6216 or 6223 and ask to speak to an Internal Affairs Investigator.

By Mail
Guam Customs and Quarantine Agency –
Attention: Director & Supervisor, Internal Affairs,
P.O. Box 21828 GMF, Barrigada, Tiyan, Guam 96921

By Fax
Guam Customs and Quarantine Agency, Internal Affairs Section,
Attention: Supervisor, Internal Affairs (671) 475-6307
(This fax document will be sent directly to the Office of Internal Affairs only.
No other parties will be privy to the content within.)

By Email
Please send complaints by mail or fax with valid and authentic signature specimen included above your name. If you would like to contact the Internal Affairs Section by email for other matters, simply email at support@guamcustoms.org.

5 Illegal Immigrants Caught Off Ritidian

5 Illegal Immigrants Caught Off Ritidian

With the possibility of a storm approaching the last place you’d want to be is in the water, and especially one of the most dangerous areas: Ritidian. Early this morning, however, that’s’ exactly what federal and local officials believe a boat dropped off a number of illegal immigrants trying to make a break for freedom.

Jess Fejeran and Juan Reyes know all there is to know about Ritidian – “This is our fishing ground,” the former explained. Yet today there was more than just fish being caught there. “We were going fishing probably around 9 o’clock when we were heading down we saw the Chinese people,” recalled Jess.

A federal and local search was launched at about 9 this morning, scouring the Ritidian and Urunao area for alleged illegal immigrants who managed to break Guam’s borders. Jess speculated, “As we know they apprehended two.” Taking the search from the sky the Navy’s HSC-25. By sea the search was conducted by the United States Coast Guard and Guam Fire Department, and by land the Guam Police Department and agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

According to a media release it was employees of the Guam Fisheries and Wildlife agency that made a report this morning, stating that they found two people in the Ritidian and Urunao area. A total of five people altogether were apprehended. Today’s incident is reminiscent of other attempts of illegal entry. In 1999 boatloads of Chinese immigrants were invading Guam’s shores, testing the resiliency Guam’s local and federal law enforcement community.

In the meantime, Jess and Juan say today’s spotting of illegal immigrants wasn’t unusual, because they see them all the time. But this time, something was actually done about it. Jess said, “One of the things that we noticed around here we told GPD. At first we thought it was tourists; we’ve been seeing Chinese immigrants. Now that I think of it, they’ve been coming in here left and right.”

Kudos to Team Andersen

It was a challenge for the local tourism industry: Commercial flights bound for Guam were in the air and needed alternative places to land after Northwest Flight 74 got stuck in the middle of the lone working runway at the Antonio B. Won Pat International Air Terminal Friday afternoon. The problem was solved for the most part when Andersen Air Force Base came to the rescue on short notice, opening its airstrip to eight commercial flights Friday.

In just three hours, 830 passengers aboard the flights arrived Guam via Andersen. “The problem was quickly resolved, and the Air Force participated magnificently in terms of taking care of the in-bound flights,” said Gerry Perez, Guam Visitors Bureau general manager. Tourists aboard the planes that were diverted to Andersen managed to continue on with their tropical vacation after they were bused from the air base to the Antonio B. Won Pat International Air Terminal for customs and immigration clearance and then on to their Guam hotels.

“Andersen’s assistance was a savior,” Perez said. Saipan’s international airport opened for backup landing as well for at least two flights from Japan to Guam that afternoon. Andersen even allowed the use of its new, giant, $32-million hangar for some of the passengers who needed extra comfort while waiting to be bused out of the military airfield. Col. Michael Boera, commander of the 36th Air Expeditionary Wing based at Andersen, described “Team Andersen’s” effort to help as “phenomenal.” “As an aviator myself, I know that incidents happen and you just can’t pull over to the side of the road in a jet,” Andersen’s public affairs office quoted him as saying. “Andersen Air Force Base has afforded the opportunity to other airliners to land safely.”

Guam’s commercial airport shut down for arriving and departing flights for about six hours Friday after Northwest Flight 74, a Boeing 747 that had just touched down from Japan, was stuck about 130 yards from the local airport’s terminal building. The Northwest aircraft’s front landing gear collapsed after the plane had slowed and was approaching its gate assignment, shutting down the only runway that was working at the time. Although the aircraft was not removed until the next day, the airport’s second runway, which had just gone through an extension project, was reopened about six hours after Flight 74’s incident.

Three people were injured in the incident, which the Northwest corporate office has said did not have any link to the unrest among the airline’s mechanics, who went on strike last weekend. Perez acknowledged there were inconveniences among tourists whose return flights were delayed, but he emphasized the inconveniences were minimal. He said he has heard that the family of the elderly Japanese tourist who sustained minor injuries and was treated at the Guam Memorial Hospital still wants to travel to the island again.

He said the family vacations on Guam every year. “Although the experience has shaken them, they were well treated,” Perez said. “We believe the impact had been minimal due to the quick resolution of the problem and the excellent cooperation all around — by the military, the hotels, tour companies and (the local and federal agencies),” Perez said.

Customs Adopts M.U. Lujan Elementary School

On the first day of school at M.U. Lujan Elementary School last week in Yona, when parents took their nervous and sometimes crying children into the school and to their new classrooms, they were greeted with a sight not common in most schools. Greeting the parents and children with friendly waves, at the front of the school, were Guam Customs and Quarantine officers, in full uniform. They weren’t there for a smile-filled drug raid or a search of schoolbags for illegally imported items.

The customs officers wanted to show the parents and kids that they are part of the M.U. Lujan family, as the school was adopted by the department last school year. “That’s part of our family, those kids coming to school,” said Ralph Sgambelluri, deputy director of Guam Customs. “It’s part of us, so we’re there to support the kids. We’re not just there to paint the school, we’re part of the school.”

Customs Adopts M.U. Lujan Elementary School

For the second school year in a row, Customs helped the M.U. Lujan staff prepare for the big opening day, painting some of the exterior walls and helping out with manpower needs. “They needed a lot of hands, brute strength,” Sgambelluri said, adding that the agency continues to keep its commitment to help the school. “We always visit the school, not just at the beginning of the year. We follow through on things that need to be done during the school year. It’s a yearly commitment, and it’s constant communication.” (Source Article: guamPDN.com)

School principal Janice Chargualaf is greatly appreciative of the help her school has gotten from Customs — work that had to be done in the past by teachers and staff, their spouses and families, the Parent-Teacher Organization and the understaffed Department of Education maintenance staff. “It’s re-energizing,” Chargualaf said. “We’re looking forward to continuing to work together. It’s a sustained partnership, not just a one-shot type of thing.”

Chargualaf said that during the school year, Customs continued to help out, giving the school about eight truckloads of gravel, fixing tiles, resurrecting the flagpole, making a school banner, removing debris and unsafe playground equipment from the campus and more. “We get together and look at what safety issues we need to come into compliance with,” Chargualaf said, “And they would assist us with upgrading a certain facility or the grounds as well. They really helped us to become compliant with our safety standards and create a safer environment for the children.” And the relationship didn’t stop with need help, either.

Last school year during Christmas season, Customs officers dressed as Santa Claus and brought treat bags with cookies for the kids. “We passed out cookies to every student, for being good students, for not vandalizing and for taking pride in their school,” Sgambelluri said, adding that Customs and M.U. Lujan staffs also combined their annual Labor Day picnic celebrations last year and look forward to doing it again this year. “The bond is definitely closer,” Chargualaf said, adding that Customs has a lot of very good people that she enjoys working with.

“I commend our Customs and Quarantine staff for all their support on all the projects we have participated in,” Sgambelluri said, “because it’s not just coming to work — it’s helping the community.” Chargualaf said thanks to the partnership, the first day of school went very well. “We were hearing comments from my staff that it was the smoothest opening that we’ve had,” she said.

Spam Laws that Affect Craigslist Marketers and Sellers

Businesses that are expanding the reach of brick-and-mortar companies or operating Internet-based businesses often use Craigslist to reach large segments of the website’s millions of users. Companies sell directly to customers on Craigslist or provide links to draw traffic to external websites.

Craigslist , a mostly free online venue, reports that it has more than 700 local sites worldwide, publishes in 70 countries and hosts listings for hundreds of major metropolitan areas in the United States. Sellers who use Craigslist must make sure they do not run afoul of federal and state anti-spam laws, international laws regarding the use of email address lists and Craigslist policies prohibiting spam.

Spam Laws that Affect Craigslist Marketers and Sellers

Federal Spam Laws

The Federal Communications Commission enforces legislation, known as the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing or CAN-SPAM Act, that prohibits commercial messages sent over wireless devices. The Federal Trade Commission, or FTC, enforces CAN-SPAM Act rules that prohibit commercial email messages or spam sent by communications companies to computers or non-wireless devices.

The CAN-SPAM Act defines commercial messages as those sent primarily to promote a product or service. Marketers and sellers can avoid violating spam laws by following FTC instructions for sending commercial email messages: clearly identify the message as a promotion or solicitation, include accurate information in the subject line, provide a method for opting out of future messages and provide the sender’s return email address and postal address.

State Spam Laws

Although federal spam laws supersede state laws, the Federal Communications Commission allows states to enforce CAN-SPAM Act rules regarding non-wireless commercial messages. In 2010, 37 states had anti-spam laws regulating commercial email messages, according to the FCC.

State anti-spam laws regulate marketing through unsolicited and bulk email, specifically fraudulent or commercial email. Many state laws focus on attempts to hide the sender of emails and to use the subject line of email to mislead recipients. State anti-spam laws enforce many of the same requirements for commercial messages that are included in the CAN-SPAM Act.

International Business

The Internet increases the reach of Craigslist marketers and sellers to other countries, which often have laws that might differ from those in the United States. Many countries have laws prohibiting or regulating the collection and sale of email address lists.

According to its Information Commissioner’s Office, England’s electronic mail laws prohibit marketers from selling or sharing email lists unless the owners of the email addresses have agreed to the practice. England’s laws also forbid sending marketing emails to someone who has not agreed to receive the emails.