Nogales, Arizona - U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers and agriculture specialists work side by side at the ports of entry, and a recent interception at the Nogales port of entry demonstrates how valuable both specialties are in protecting our nation.
Late in the evening on April 26, CBP officers working at the Dennis DeConcini port of entry were screening travelers and vehicles entering the country when they encountered a vehicle driven by a resident of Nogales, Ariz. In the back of the pickup were pieces of bedroom furniture, including a bed frame, mattress, box spring, and dresser set.
When officers became suspicious of the driver, they decided a thorough inspection should be done on the vehicle and furniture. With the help of a CBP narcotics detector dog, officers discovered 15 bundles of marijuana hidden inside the mattress and box spring. They seized more than 307 pounds of the drug, along with the vehicle and furniture, and arrested the driver.
As soon as the CBP officers were finished inspecting the furniture, a CBP agriculture specialist looked at the wooden furniture and discovered evidence of a heavy infestation of wood-boring insects. A sample of the insects was sent to U.S. Department of Agriculture entomologists for identification.
When the results were received, CBP found that the pests had been identified by USDA National Identification Services Insect Identifiers as being an actionable pest, Scolytidae Pityophtorus sp., which poses a significant risk to forests by infesting and potentially destroying trees and transmitting fungal diseases. As a result of the inspection and discovery, the wood furniture was destroyed by the agriculture specialists at the port of entry.