BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS—Since October 2012, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists at the Brownsville Port of Entry have intercepted significant pests found within solid wood packaging materials in 25 separate shipments.
CBP agriculture specialists' examinations of 25 commercial trucks at the Veterans International Bridge cargo lot resulted in the discovery of live wood-boring insects. The insects were collected from wooden pallets containing merchandise being imported into the United States from Mexico. The collected insects were transported to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Plant Inspection Station at Los Indios for identification, where the specimens were confirmed as quarantine-significant pests. As a result of this finding, the 25 shipments were exported back to Mexico.
"An extensive outreach program has been initiated by Brownsville's CBP agriculture specialists to educate, brokers, transporters, fumigators and other stakeholders involved in the importation of merchandise on solid wood packaging materials," said Michael T. Freeman, Port Director at the Brownsville Port of Entry. Freeman went on to say, "Protecting American agriculture on the frontlines is what CBP agriculture specialists are specially trained for. I applaud our agriculture team for their outstanding commitment in keeping pests and plant diseases from entering our country."
CBP agriculture specialists at the Brownsville Port of Entry have discovered live pests of concern multiple times in shipments from various importers. In all cases, the WPM displayed the International Plant Protection Convention marking which indicates pallets have been treated according to international standards. Penalties totaling $1.3 million have been issued to importers who have made multiple attempts to enter with violative WPM.
CBP agriculture specialists working at U.S. ports of entry ensure that cargo and conveyances are not infested with harmful plant pests and diseases that could harm the agricultural crops, plants and trees in the United States. Certain types of word-boring beetles could be devastating to numerous types of trees since they may have no natural predators in this region. Infestation could spread at an alarming rate and conceivably cost millions of dollars and man hours to eradicate.
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.