El Paso, Texas - U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists working at the El Paso port of entry have stopped suspect shipments on three separate occasions in recent days. In all three cases, they discovered live wood boring insects in wooden pallets while inspecting commercial shipments that arrived from Mexico.
"These tiny pests could be harmful to our agriculture and natural resources," said Ana Hinojosa, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Director of Field Operations in El Paso. "These intercepts show how CBP agriculture specialists play an important role in finding and stopping pests that could cause significant harm in the United States."
All three of the discoveries were made at the Ysleta commercial cargo lot. On September 13, a shipment of wooden pallets was selected for a secondary inspection during which a CBP agriculture specialist discovered five live adult wood borer beetles. Later that same day, another shipment of wood pallets arrived from Mexico. That shipment was also selected for a secondary inspection during which a CBP agriculture specialist located four live adult wood borer beetles. Two days later, CBP agricultural specialists working at the Ysleta crossing discovered six live wood borer larvae while performing an examination of another pallet shipment. All three shipments were refused entry and returned to Mexico for proper treatment.
All wood packaging materials, such as pallets, crates, boxes and pieces of wood used to support or brace cargo, must meet import requirements and be free of timber pests before entering or transiting through the United States. All WPM entering or transiting through the United States must be either heat treated or fumigated with methyl bromide. The WPM must also be marked with an approved international logo, certifying that it has been appropriately treated.
CBP will require the immediate re-exportation of any unmarked WPM as well as any marked WPM that is found to be infested with a live wood-boring pest. All costs associated with the re-exportation are the responsibility of the importer or party of interest.
While anti-terrorism is the primary mission of CBP, the inspection process at the ports of entry associated with this mission result in impressive numbers of enforcement actions in all categories.
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.