HIDALGO, Texas—U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Field Operations (OFO) at the Hidalgo International Bridge discovered oysters, crabs and shrimp in a traveler’s ice chests that were alleged to be in violation of Texas law.
“Our agriculture specialists play a key role in protecting our American agriculture industry and simultaneously, they encounter uncertified seafood products acquired in possible violation of state law that can potentially be hazardous as well,” said Port Director Carlos Rodriguez, Port of Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas.
On May 13, a 49-year-old woman, a United States citizen arrived from Mexico at the Hidalgo-Reynosa International Bridge and a CBP officer referred her for further inspection. During the secondary inspection, CBP agriculture specialists discovered significant quantities of oysters, crabs and shrimp in two ice chests.
CBP OFO contacted Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD) game wardens who arrived to assess the situation and ultimately advised that the aquatic product would not be allowed to enter the State of Texas due to the traveler not having a valid fishing license, tag, permit or similar documentation from the country where the resource was acquired. TPWD also advises that the consumption of illegal and uncertified oysters poses a potential health risk to the public, such as vibrio (bacteria causing foodborne infection associated with eating undercooked seafood).
CBP OFO took possession of the seafood items abandoned by the traveler, ultimately turning them over to TPWD, who also cited the traveler for the improper importation.
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 official ports of entry. CBP is charged with securing the borders of the United States while enforcing hundreds of laws and facilitating lawful trade and travel.