Laredo, TEXAS – U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists at the Lincoln-Juarez Bridge recently intercepted several notable pests in a sizable, undeclared cache of fruit within a passenger vehicle. Recent analysis of intercepted pests included fruit fly among other species.
“Our frontline agriculture specialists did an excellent job and found several significant pests within this large amount of fruit hidden in a vehicle,” said Joseph Misenhelter, port director, Laredo Port of Entry. “This recent interception shows how our agriculture specialists help protect American agriculture and preserve the nation’s economic security by denying entry of invasive species to the U.S.”
The initial interception occurred Aug. 22 when a CBP officer referred a 1999 Chevy pickup truck for a secondary examination after an initial declaration of peaches. The driver made a negative declaration for any additional fruits, vegetables or other agriculture items. CBP agriculture specialists examined the vehicle, discovered a crate of pomegranates and an agricultural canine examination alerted to additional undeclared fruit hidden within the vehicle.
Agriculture specialists discovered multiple pests within a total of 165 guavas, 26 apples and 159 pomegranates. The pests were submitted for identification by a U.S. Department of Agriculture entomologist who confirmed some of the pests to be of interest. These were the following: Anastrepha sp. better known as fruit flies, Miridae sp., which include plant bugs that pierce plant tissue and feed on juices and Dipropus sp., which are known as click beetles, whose larvae, known as wireworms, feed on decaying vegetation and often cause crop damage. CBP assessed a $300 penalty and destroyed the undeclared fruit.
CBP’s Laredo Port of Entry is part of the South Texas Campaign, which leverages federal, state and local resources to combat transnational criminal organizations. To report smuggling of drugs, people, weapons, currency and commercial fraud, send an email to ReportSmuggling@cbp.dhs.gov.
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.