It will amount to an offense of aviation smuggling if the pilot of any aircraft transports, or any individual on board any aircraft possesses merchandise knowing or intending that the merchandise will be introduced into the U.S. contrary to law. It will also amount to aviation smuggling if any person transfers merchandise between an aircraft and a vessel on the high seas or in the customs waters of the U.S. if such person is not authorized for the same.
Any person who commits aviation smuggling is liable for a civil penalty equal to twice the value of the merchandise involved in the violation, but not less than $ 10,000. In addition to civil penalty, any person who intentionally commits a violation will upon conviction be liable for a fine upto $ 10,000 or imprisonment upto five years, or both, if none of the merchandise involved was a controlled substance; or liable for a fine upto $ 250,000 or imprisonment upto 20 years, or both, if any of the merchandise involved was a controlled substance. [19 USCS § 1590]