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CBP Stops Dangerous Hitchhikers at El Paso Port

Release Date: 
July 12, 2012

El Paso, Texas - U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists working at the El Paso port of entry discovered living fruit fly larvae in a mango July 8. It was the third such incident recorded at the El Paso port since early June.

Living fruit fly larvae.

"The fruit fly can be harmful to the U.S. agricultural industry," said Hector Mancha, CBP El Paso port director. "These recent interceptions demonstrate the vital role CBP plays in protecting U.S. agriculture from invasive pests."

The most recent case occurred at the Paso Del Norte (PDN) crossing when a driver entered the port from Mexico and declared that he had a mango in his possession. CBP agriculture specialists took custody of the prohibited fruit and allowed the traveler to continue without consequence. A CBP agriculture specialist processed and examined the mango and discovered 11 suspect fruit fly larvae in the mango. The larvae were submitted to USDA and positively identified as the fruit fly species.

On June 23 a pedestrian at the PDN crossing failed to declare four mangoes. CBP officers discovered the prohibited fruit during an exam. They seized the fruit and assessed a $300 penalty. An examination of the fruit revealed 36 fruit fly larvae.

On June 1, a traveler at the Bridge of the Americas crossing declared three mamey fruit to CBP. The prohibited fruit was abandoned to CBP. A CBP agriculture specialist examined the fruit and found 87 fruit fly larvae.

"The volume of larvae discovered in these three episodes is of concern because even a single fruit fly can be devastating," said Mancha. "We encourage the traveling public to help CBP protect America by declaring all items they acquire abroad. Declared prohibited food items can be abandoned without penalty."

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 official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017