NOGALES, ARIZ.—Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists at the Port of Mariposa confiscated boxes of poultry vaccine in mid-January which could have been used to inoculate against Exotic Newcastle Disease.
On Jan. 17, officers referred a vehicle for an intensive inspection. Prior to the search, the vehicle's owner informed officers he was carrying two boxes of poultry vaccine. One of the vehicle occupants indicated she owned a small poultry flock in California and wished to inoculate them before obtaining additional birds. Since the vaccine was not accompanied by permits necessary to import, the vaccine was seized.
CBP Agriculture Program Manager Tracy Filippi, from the Tucson Field Office, says Exotic Newcastle Disease is a foreign animal disease that infects many domestic and wild avian species.
"This port has encountered multiple shipments of vaccines of this nature attempting to enter the U.S. without proper documentation," Filippi explains.
The last outbreak in California took 11 months and $161 million to eradicate. That effort led to the destruction of 3.5 million birds, according to the California Department of Food and Agriculture.
CBP agriculture specialists have extensive training and experience in agricultural and biological inspection. Their historic mission of preventing the introduction of harmful plant and animal pests into the United States provides CBP with the expertise to recognize and prevent the entry of organisms with a potential to devastate entire segments of our agriculture-related economy.
CBP's Office of Field Operations is the primary organization within Homeland Security tasked with an anti-terrorism mission at our nation's ports. CBP officers screen all people, vehicles and goods entering the United States while facilitating the flow of legitimate trade and travel. Their mission also includes carrying out border-related duties, including narcotics interdiction, enforcing immigration and trade laws, and protecting the nation's food supply and agriculture industry from pests and diseases.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.