Smuggler packaged meat as fish, nets $300 penalty
HOUSTON - U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists working at George Bush Intercontinental Airport intercepted a passenger’s attempt to smuggle prohibited beef, Aug. 20, resulting in a $300 penalty.
Beef is either restricted or prohibited from certain countries depending on the types of animal diseases which are prevalent in the beef’s country of origin. In this instance, the packaged meat originated in Vietnam where Foot and Mouth disease is prevalent.
CBP agriculture specialists conducted an examination of a passenger arriving from Vietnam. The 20-year-old Vietnam citizen declared that she was bringing fish into the United States. However, when the agriculture specialists examined her luggage, they discovered 11 pounds of beef. The packaging label indicated the meat was shrimp, squid and fish.
“CBP agriculture specialist are vigilant in their mission to protect American agriculture from intentional and unintentional biological threats,” said Houston CBP Port Director Charles Perez. “The risk of introducing plant and animal disease into our agriculture is real, and we are deeply committed to disrupting smuggling attempts that endanger our food sources.”
All 11 pounds of beef was seized and destroyed and the passenger was assessed a $300 penalty.
On a typical day in fiscal year 2014, CBP agriculture specialists around the country seized more than 4,447 plant, meat or animal byproducts either restricted or prohibited from entry. Additional CBP stats are available here.
CBP invites international travelers, who will be arriving into the U.S., to find additional information about making a declaration at ‘Know Before You Go’.
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.