Louisville, Ky. - U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the Louisville UPS express consignment facility recently intercepted one of the world's most destructive pests, the Khapra Beetle, in a shipment coming into the United States from India.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Khapra Beetle is considered one of the worst invasive species worldwide because of its ability to survive without food for long periods of time and its high tolerance of insecticides and fumigants. This pest has earned a reputation as a dirty feeder because it damages more grain than it consumes and contaminates it by leaving behind body parts and hairs.
The shipment intercepted on February 4 in Louisville was addressed to an individual in Brooklyn, New York with a declared value of $39. The parcel contained "Prayer Items for Worship" including cups, incense and an inscribed gold plate. Additional items of agricultural interest in the package included Tulsi leaves, Bael fruit, coconut and oats.
The parcel was placed on hold for further exam because of several signs of feeding damage by insects. Upon inspection, CBP agricultural specialists found one Khapra larva and three cast skins on the oats.
"Although your personal food products may appear to be harmless, there could be hidden threats that could seriously harm our food supply and economy," said David J. Murphy, CBP director of Field Operations in Chicago. "These dedicated, highly trained and experienced officers and agriculture specialists are a critical part of CBP's layer approach to protecting our homeland, from apprehending criminals to interdicting drugs and intercepting harmful pests."
CBP officers at the Louisville UPS express consignment facility examine shipments from around the world for all types of contraband, including weapons of mass destruction, damaging pests, illegal drugs, counterfeit checks, intellectual property rights and copyright violations. All parcels are also screened by a radiation portal to ensure that no radioactive materials enter this country.
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.