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September 21, 09

NEWS / CBP Seizes Birds, Bugs, Plants at Michigan Border

Detroit — U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists continued efforts to keep American agriculture and the food supply safe by stopping exotic birds, bugs and plants from being brought into the country through several Michigan ports of entry.

CBP officers at the port of Sault Saint Marie found three exotic pigeons that had been placed inside socks and hidden in the engine compartment of a Mercedes. Pet birds, like these pigeons, are restricted and often quarantined when entering the U.S. because they can bring in bird diseases such as Exotic Newcastle Disease.

At Detroit Metropolitan Airport, a passenger arriving on a flight from Vietnam tried to smuggle 30 live tropical plants, complete with roots and soil. The live plants were intermingled with artificial plants in the traveler’s luggage. CBP agriculture specialists spotted the live plants, seized and destroyed them. The passenger was issued a $300 penalty.

CBP agriculture specialists at the Detroit land border intercepted the Khapra beetle in a shipment of nuts from Iraq. The Khapra beetle is considered one of the world’s most feared stored product pests. It can chew through paper, wood and even plastic trying to get at groceries like bread, crackers, flour, baby cereals and cat or dog food. With plenty of food, they can live for six years eating and contaminating food in a warehouse or your kitchen. They can even live about nine months between meals if they have to.

“CBP agriculture specialists have extensive training and experience in agricultural and biological inspection,” said Christopher Perry, director Field Operations, Detroit field office. “Their mission of preventing the introduction of harmful plant pests into the United States provides CBP with the expertise to recognize and prevent the entry of organisms that could potentially devastate entire segments of our agriculture-related economy.”

CBP agriculture specialists working at Michigan ports of entry intercepted more than 2,900 plant pests and refused entry to 417 shipments because of plant pests and quarantine regulations in the last twelve months. They also issued more than 590 civil penalties totaling $159,000 to passengers that failed to declare their foreign fruits, meats, plants and exotic pets.




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