HIDALGO, Texas—U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Field Operations (OFO) at the Hidalgo International Bridge made an unusual discovery this past weekend when they encountered an individual attempting to export commercial quantities of reptiles into Mexico.
“During the course of conducting outbound inspections our officers will often encounter a myriad of export violations as evidenced by this significant interception of reptiles,” said Port Director Carlos Rodriguez, Port of Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas.
CBP officers conducting outbound operations at the Hidalgo-Reynosa International Bridge on Dec. 4, 2020 selected a Chevy Avalanche SUV driven by a male U.S. citizen for further inspection. The officers’ secondary examination of the vehicle led to the discovery of undeclared reptiles concealed in plastic containers and in sacks. CBP officers removed 23 snakes, 10 toads/frogs, 23 chameleons and 16 geckos.
CBP OFO contacted agents with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (F&WS) who arrived to take possession of the reptiles and will seek to get them identified by personnel at the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, Texas.
Lawful importation or exportation of wildlife such as reptiles requires completion of a declaration for exportation of fish or wildlife, exportation must be done through a designated port and clearance from FWS is required. In most cases licenses are required and user fees must be paid. For more information on lawful importation and exportation of commercial wildlife shipments, consult this link.
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.