US customs won't check anything.
The only issues i've had with customs was entering France, they'd spend a lot of time with my laptop. I was working on crypto systems at the time, and bringing cypto into France wasn't kosher. I had a clean laptop for travel, I was having to go there often.
Your friend shouldn't have any problems with the lens.
B&H will get the package there, they're excellent to do business with.
Yup, order it from B&H online, ship it to the hotel, you should get it from New York to San Franscico in about 4 days with the slowest shipping, quicker if you want to pay more............and you will completely avoid the sales tax, just the $2,099 plus a little shippping of $18.80. I buy all my gear from B&H, wonderful customer service, plus you can't beat tax free!
Thx for that people! I'm sorely tempted to go via B&H now to avoid that tax (c.$200)!!
Have you tried "kerso" on eBay or talkphotography? He was doing them for £1349 at the end of last year, I don't have an up-to-date price list though.
Ian is a great guy and usually gets some good prices but I doubt he's gonna be around that price now! I asked for a price on the 24-70 couple of months ago and he was only just under general online prices. I think the Yen is probably making things difficult for him. But yh, guess it's worth asking just in case.