El Paso, Texas -- U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the El Paso port of entry seized eight rolls of Mexican bologna this morning. The prohibited product was hidden in the spare tire of a truck that entered the port from Mexico. The contraband meat weighed a total of 76 pounds.
"This bologna is a prohibited product because it is made from pork and has the potential for introducing foreign animal diseases to the U.S. pork industry," said Hector Mancha, CBP El Paso port director. "This is a highly unusual seizure because of the concealment method."
The seizure was made at approximately 6:30 a.m. today when a Ford F-150 arrived at the Paso Del Norte international crossing port from Mexico. CBP officers detected an anomaly in the appearance of the vehicle and initiated a thorough secondary inspection. CBP officers scanned the spare tire with a "Buster" density meter and received high readings consistent with hidden contraband. CBP officers opened the spare tire and were surprised to find eight rolls of bologna hidden inside.
The driver, a resident of Sunland Park, N.M., was assessed a $1,000 civil penalty and was released. The prohibited bologna was seized by CBP.
"Travelers can avoid civil penalties by declaring all agricultural items they are importing from Mexico. If the item they declare is prohibited from entry it can be abandoned at the port without consequence," said Mancha. "A number of foods and agricultural products are prohibited because they can introduce disease and pests to the U.S. agricultural industry, so it is always a good idea to declare these goods to CBP."
While anti-terrorism is the primary mission of CBP, 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.