HOUSTON, AUG. 27 -- Roughly $8 million in goods destined for or coming from Iraq and Kuwait have been seized by U.S. officials in compliance with a presidental order, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Customs Service said today.
Donna De La Torre said 29 cargoes have been detained in Texas ports while officials determine whether the shipments are destined for Iraq or Kuwait.
President Bush froze Kuwaiti and Iraqi assets Aug. 2 after Iraqi forces invaded neighboring Kuwait and ousted the nation's government. Bush also ordered U.S. Customs agents to seize any goods destined for Iraq or Kuwait that were purchased before the invasion.
The most recent seizure involved 31.4 tons of oil well pipe valued at nearly $2.5 million and bound for Kuwait, De La Torre said.
Officials are sifting through shipping records to determine the fate of the 29 cargoes in detention.
"If a U.S. shipper has been paid by Iraq or Kuwait, the cargo becomes an asset and it is seized," said De La Torre. "If it is not paid for, it is returned to the U.S. shipper."
Among the items seized are 7,000 bags of split peas, air conditioning products and two rolls of carpeting.
De La Torre said Texas was a key shipping point for goods bound for Iraq before the embargo.