Dallas - U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers made two seizures January 12, involving endangered plant species and counterfeit BlackBerry cell phone covers.
"These types of seizures illustrate our commitment to enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws and regulations," said Jeffrey O. Baldwin Sr., director of CBP's Houston Field Operations. "Protecting endangered species and protecting intellectual property rights cover a small spectrum of the laws we are charged with enforcing while protecting the nation from terrorists and terrorists weapons."
A K-9 team on duty at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport discovered the endangered plant when a trained agriculture beagle alerted to the plant material in a passenger's luggage. When asked about the luggage, the passenger admitted to carrying 34 rain sticks from Chile.
Rain sticks are usually made from any of several species of cactus. The cacti, which are hollow, are dried by the sun. The spines are removed and driven back into the cactus, like nails. The cacti used to make the seized rain sticks are listed on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species list.
This list is an international agreement between governments to protect 33,000 endangered species of animals and plants. The seized rain sticks were turned over to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
In a separate seizure, CBP officers discovered 22 cartons of counterfeit silicone cell phone covers displaying the BlackBerry® word mark. The counterfeit cell phone covers have a manufactured retail suggested price of more than $135,000 and a domestic value of about $82,500.
The shipment originated in China and was destined to South America. This shipment was turned over to CBP's Fines, Penalties and Forfeitures division for disposition.
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.