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Baltimore CBP Finds Protected Plant Species in Passenger Baggage from Spain

Release Date: 
September 4, 2015

BALTIMORE — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Field Operations (OFO) agriculture specialists discovered one (1) Cactaceae sp., a type of cactus, and one (1) Bromeliaceae sp., a type of Bromeliad, while inspecting passenger baggage from Spain Thursday at Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport.

CBP officers seized two plants in passenger baggage from Spain at BWI airport September 3, 2015. The plants are protected under Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.

CBP officers seized two plants in passenger baggage from Spain at BWI airport September 3, 2015. The plants are protected under Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.

The importation of plants is restricted to prevent the introduction of plant pests and diseases. Additionally, Cactaceae sp. and Bromeliaceae sp. are subject to additional import restrictions under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES).

“CBP agriculture specialists are very good at detecting foreign invasive plants and plant pests,” said Dianna Bowman CBP Area Port Director for the Port of Baltimore. “This discovery highlights the importance of the work they do, part of which is protecting the U.S. agriculture industry.”

The plants were discovered inside an arriving passenger’s baggage from Spain and destined for California.  CBP detained the plants and forwarded them to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) local botanist for further identification and final disposition.

CBP agriculture specialists have extensive training and experience in the biological sciences and agricultural inspection. On a typical day nationally, they inspect over 1 million people as well as air and sea cargo imported to the United States and intercept 4,447 prohibited meat, plant materials or animal products, including 425 agriculture pests and diseases.

Learn more about CBP's agriculture protection mission.

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017