Agriculture Smuggling Attempts Halted - Tucson News Now

Agriculture Smuggling Attempts Halted

KOLD News 13 News Editor Marissa Pasquet

What began as two routine agriculture inspections by Customs and Border Protection Agriculture Specialists at the Mariposa port of entry in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico on Monday and Tuesday turned into two significant interceptions.

An attempt to smuggle exotic birds into the United States was thwarted when exotic birds were discovered. Later, eight Mexican Fruit Fly larvae inside mangoes during another failed smuggling attempt were found.

Just before 9:30 am on July 2nd, CBP officers screening vehicles and people entering the country from Mexico referred a 60-year-old man from California driving a Chevy SUV for an agriculture inspection.  After asking the driver about the contents of the vehicle and receiving a negative response from him, CBP Agriculture Specialists proceeded to inspect the vehicle and contents.  During the inspection, they discovered two Amazon parrots, two parakeets, two finches, two Monk parakeets, and two chickens hidden in bird cages and cardboard boxes under piles of clothing.  The birds were all seized and turned over the U.S. Department of Agriculture Veterinary services. 

The driver was penalized $300 by U.S. Customs and Border Protection for the agriculture violation and $1,025 by U.S. Fish and Wildlife.

The next day, at a little after 8:00 a.m., CBP officers referred a 48-year-old man from Oregon and his vehicle for another agriculture inspection.  CBP Agriculture Specialists talked to the man, who stated that he had nothing in his vehicle.  During the vehicle inspection, however, the Agriculture Specialists discovered fresh nanches, hog plums, and 103 mangoes hidden inside bags of gifts and candies. 

As a result of his failure to declare the agriculture items, the driver was penalized $300 by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.  After seizing the mangoes, Agriculture Specialists then cut them apart, finding eight Mexican Fruit Fly larvae, a pest that can have a devastating effect on the nation's agriculture industry, food supply and forestry, if introduced into the country inadvertently or on purpose.

Since the beginning of the fiscal year, which began October 1, 2006, CBP Agriculture Specialists at the Nogales port of entry have discovered 58 birds being smuggled into the United States and have intercepted 32 significant pests, including the Mexican Fruit Fly larvae.

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