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Any property that it is illegal to produce or possess. Smuggled goods that are imported into or exported from a country in violation of its laws.

Contraband confiscated by law enforcement authorities upon the arrest of a person for the crimes of production or possession of such goods will not be returned, regardless of the outcome of the prosecution.


noun banned goods, bootlegged commerce, bootlegged goods, bootlegged trade, bootlegged traffic, captured goods, confiscated goods, confiscated propprty, embargoed goods, goods exported illegally, goods immorted illegally, goods subject to confiscation, goods subject to seizure, illegal property, illegal traffic, illegally exported goods, illegally imported goods, illicit gains, merces vetitae, poached trade, poached traffic, prohibited articles, prohibbted import, restricted goods, seized articles, seized goods, smuggled commerce, smuggled goods, smuggled trade, smuggled traffic, stolen article, stolen goods, swag
Associated concepts: contraband articles, contraband goods


1 goods that are prohibited by law from being exported or imported; illegally imported or exported goods.
2 in international law, contraband of war denotes goods that a neutral country may not supply to a belligerent.

CONTRABAND, mar. law. Its most extensive sense, means all commerce which is carried on contrary to the laws of the state. This term is also used to designate all kinds of merchandise which are used, or transported, against the interdictions published by a ban or solemn cry.
     2. The term is usually applied to that unlawful commerce which is so carried on in time of war. Merlin, Repert. h.t. Commodities particularly useful in war are contraband as arms, ammunition, horses, timber for ship building, and every kind of naval stores. When articles come into use as implements of war, which were before innocent, they may be declared to be contraband. The greatest difficulty to decide what is contraband seems to have occurred in the instance of provisions, which have not been held to be universally contraband, though Vattel admits that they become so on certain occasions, when there is an expectation of reducing an enemy by famine.
     3. In modern times one of the principal criteria adopted by the courts for the decision of the question, whether any particular cargo of provisions be confiscable as contraband, is to examine whether those provisions be in a rude or manufactured state; for all articles, in such examinations, are treated with greater indulgence in their natural condition than when wrought tip for the convenience of the enemy's immediate use. Iron, unwrought, is therefore treated with indulgence, though anchors, and other instruments fabricated out of it, are directly contraband. 1 Rob. Rep. 1 89. See Vattel, b. 3, c. 7 Chitty's L. of Nat. 120; Marsh. Ins. 78; 2 Bro. Civ., Law, 311; 1 Kent. Com. 135; 3 Id. 215.
     4. Contraband of war, is the act by which, in times of war, a neutral vessel introduces, or attempts to introduce into the territory of, one of the belligerent parties, arms, ammunition, or other effects intended for, or which may serve, hostile operations. Merlin, Repert. h.t. 1 Kent, Com. 135; Mann. Comm. B. 3, c. 7; 6 Mass. 102; 1 Wheat. 382; 1 Cowen, 56 John. Cas. 77, 120.

References in periodicals archive ?
4) "The Contrabands at Fortress Monroe," Atlantic Monthly (November 1861), 627.
Left largely unexplored is the use of runaway slaves and contraband in the Union Army during the opening days and months of the struggle.
While nobody could have known at the time, the dynamics explored by the Union Army in dealing with both slaves and contraband would be reflected again at Port Royal, South Carolina and again during Post-war Reconstruction.
Slaves came into Union lines usually by one of two ways, as runaways or as contraband.
In contrast, contraband consisted of property seized when Union troops occupied Confederate territory.
In a letter dated May 30, 1861, Secretary Cameron authorized the Union general to "refrain from surrendering to alleged masters any persons who may come into lines" with no distinction made between runaways versus contraband.
White sailors called the contrabands who came aboard their ships "lazy," "dishonest," "impertinent," "stupid," and "disgusting.
Destitute" was how one officer described the condition of most contrabands.
Moreover, the horribly exciting stories contrabands brought with them proved particularly effective in winning sailor acceptance.
Freeman Foster marveled that the four contrabands his crew took aboard said that their lives as slaves were so hard that "they would not go back + they said they would sooner jump into the river.
25) Unfortunately, sailors' acceptance of contrabands was not that high-minded.
Naval regulations warned that contrabands were "naturally negligent" and in need of improvement.