SANTA TERESA, N.M.—U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers working at the Santa Teresa port of entry seized 230 pounds of cheese late Friday night. The contraband queso was confiscated when the quantity was deemed a commercially sized import.
"Individuals can import personal quantities of cheese - something in the 10 pound range," said Joane Thale-Lembo, CBP Santa Teresa Port Director. "This shipment certainly exceeded that quantity and was therefore seized and destroyed."
The seizure was made at approximately 8:30 p.m. Friday when a 2003 Ford F-150 pickup truck entered the facility from Mexico. CBP officers initiated an exam of the vehicle and located three large ice chests inside the truck. They opened the coolers and found numerous bundles of undeclared cheese. CBP officers seized the cheese and assessed the driver a $300 civil penalty. The driver, a 50-year-old legal permanent resident from Aurora, Colorado departed the port after paying the penalty. The cheese was destroyed.
While anti-terrorism is the primary mission of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the inspection process at the ports of entry associated with this mission results in impressive numbers of enforcement actions in all categories.
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.