I'll make it through customs with some help from Johnny Walker red.
December 20, 2006 11:37 AM   Subscribe

I want to ship some possibly sketchy items to Suriname. How can I get them there with a minimum of fuss?

A friend of mine is with the Peace Corps in Suriname, and I want to send him a bottle of scotch and a carton of cigarettes (his request), among a few other things, as a care package/birthday present. There's a government address, but I'm unsure how to send this stuff.

I'd absolutely like to see this stuff both 1) clear customs legally, 2) not incur any extra costs for my friend and 3) not end up getting ransacked at the border.

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!
posted by kdar to Law & Government (9 answers total)
From the USPS website --
130 Mailability -- 131.2 International Limits -- 137 Other Restricted Materials
"Some items are prohibited in the international mail (see DMM 601), except as specified in the Individual Country Listings. This includes intoxicating liquor, matter emitting obnoxious odor (liquids and powders), motor vehicle master keys, battery-powered devices, odd-shaped items in envelopes, and abortive and contraceptive devices." [USPS]
Country Conditions for Mailing - Suriname.
posted by ericb at 11:55 AM on December 20, 2006

Call your local post office -- they'll be able to guide you.
posted by ericb at 11:55 AM on December 20, 2006

BTW -- you might want to check out other overseas mail carriers (DHL, FedEx, TNT, UPS, etc.) to see what (if any) restrictions they have.
posted by ericb at 11:58 AM on December 20, 2006

Yes, and the overseas carriers ericb describes might be a safer in terms of ransacking BUT your friend may have to pick up in person in a large urban center. Ask him what other volunteers have done. There may also be a grace period for no duty taxes for X number of months for PCVs. There was in my country.
posted by handful of rain at 12:47 PM on December 20, 2006

I just tried to send a carton of cigarettes from the US to the UK and the post office told me it wasn't allowed. He said they would have opened the package at customs and confiscated it.
posted by tremolo1970 at 1:17 PM on December 20, 2006

To get the booze to make it though, you'll have to disguise it as something else. I'm not sure what to do with scotch, but I...errr...a guy I know sent a decent quantity of vodka to a soldier in Iraq by adding food coloring and putting it in Scope bottles which were sent along with other hygiene-related items. This is probably illegal, however, so you shouldn't do it.
posted by jtfowl0 at 3:01 PM on December 20, 2006

You could just try it and see if it makes it. I don't think you would get in any major trouble (but don't take my word for it), I think it would just get confiscated at worst.
posted by tomble at 4:20 PM on December 20, 2006

You cannot send whisky in the mail!

You can send hair tonic in the mail!

I sent a fifth of Kentucky hair tonic to Scotland some years ago. It was much appreciated by my friend, a bald chemist who loves Scotch whiskey. Apparently they can't get Kentucky hair tonic over there.
posted by ikkyu2 at 1:24 AM on December 21, 2006

Response by poster: Strange. I wonder what the tobacco analogy to Kentucky hair tonic is.

Thanks, all. I may end up not sending the whiskey after all and just wait for him to get back and throw a big party.
posted by kdar at 2:00 PM on December 21, 2006

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