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CBP Stops Dangerous Pests in San Diego

Release Date: 
November 15, 2016

SAN DIEGO — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers and agriculture specialists working at border crossings in San Diego stopped two dangerous pests in separate shipments and discovered almost seven pounds of dried sea cucumbers, an endangered species protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

“The job of our CBP agriculture specialists cannot be understated. They ensure our economic prosperity by stopping pests and diseases at the border,” said Pete Flores, CBP director of field operations for San Diego.  “If significant pests or diseases get a foothold in U.S., they can wreak havoc on our agriculture industry and cost millions of dollars to eradicate.”

On Monday, Oct. 31, a 27-year-old female U.S. citizen applied for entry into the United States through the San Ysidro port of entry.   During the inspection, a CBP officer opened the trunk of the vehicle and discovered what looked like dried sea cucumbers and referred the driver and vehicle for further inspection.  A CBP agriculture specialist later confirmed the items as dried sea cucumbers, and almost seven pounds were found in a grocery bag in the trunk of the vehicle.  CBP seized the sea cucumbers and turned them over to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The sea cucumbers were identified as Isostichopus fuscus, a species regulated by CITES.

Pest found in San Diego
Pest found in San Diego

On Tuesday, Nov. 1, a cargo shipment of cactus pads and prickly pear fruits entered the Otay Mesa cargo facility and was referred for an agriculture examination.  As the CBP agriculture specialist inspected a wooden crate containing the cactus pads, a live larva was found. The CBP agriculture specialist turned the pest over to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) entomologist for identification. The final identification of the pest was determined to be Scolytinae, species of (Curculionidae), an actionable pest.  The shipment was returned to Mexico for violation of USDA’s regulation on wood packaging materials.

On Wednesday, Oct. 30, a cargo shipment of prickly pear pads entered the Otay Mesa cargo facility and was referred for an agriculture examination. While inspecting the wooden crates, the CBP agriculture specialist found a live adult beetle. The pest was turned over to the USDA entomologist for identification, and the insect was determined to be Pityophthorus species, belonging to the Scolytinae family, an actionable pest. The shipment was also returned to Mexico for violation of USDA’s regulation on wood packaging materials.

Actionable pests are those identified through scientific risk assessment and study as being dangerous to the health and safety of U.S. agricultural resources and are prohibited from entry into the U.S.

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017