Guyanese man smuggles birds into JFK
NEW YORK – The United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency said on Tuesday that officers had discovered 29 finches concealed in hair rollers inside a Guyana man’s baggage at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.
Officers discovered the birds during a secondary baggage examination after the 26-year-old man arrived on a flight from Georgetown on Sunday.
The man, who was destined to an address in New Jersey, was not criminally charged.
However, CBP said it assessed a US$300 civil penalty, allowed the man to withdraw his request for admission and placed him on a Guyana-bound flight on Monday.
It added that its agriculture specialists quarantined the finches and turned them over to US Department of Agriculture Veterinary Services.
“Customs and Border Protection officers and agriculture specialists face a very complex and challenging task, and that is to protect our nation, our citizens, our agricultural resources and our economic security,” said Marty Raybon, Acting Director of Field Operations for CBP’s New York Field Office. “And they meet that challenge with extraordinary commitment and vigilance.”
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service noted that improperly imported birds pose the potential threat of introducing Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), also known as bird flu, to the United States poultry industry.
CBP said its agriculture specialists have extensive training and experience in the biological sciences and agricultural inspection.
“They examine international trade shipments and traveler baggage every day in the search for invasive insects, federal noxious weeds, and plant and animal diseases that could have a serious impact on our national agricultural resources,” it said.
During a typical day last year, CBP said its agriculture specialists across the nation seized 3 091 prohibited plant, meat, animal by-products and soil, and intercepted 250 insect pests at US ports of entry. (CMC)