Parakeets Among Violations El Paso CBP Identifies during Holiday Weekend
El Paso, Texas - U.S. Customs and Border Protection personnel working at ports of entry in El Paso, West Texas, and New Mexico made numerous seizures during the holiday weekend including one case where a traveler failed to declare live birds and fruit he was transporting from Mexico.
The seizure was made at 7:20 p.m. Saturday at the Paso Del Norte crossing in downtown when the driver of a car arrived from Mexico. The vehicle was selected for a secondary exam during which CBP officers discovered eight hidden parakeets. The search also turned up undeclared avocados and cherimoya fruit, which are both prohibited items. The driver, a 26-year-old legal permanent resident from Santa Maria, Calif., was assessed a $300 penalty. The birds were turned over to U.S. Department of Agriculture Veterinary Services. CBP agriculture specialists seized and destroyed the fruit.
"Travelers should not smuggle birds because they may unknowingly introduce a communicable bird disease like Avian Flu or Exotic Newcastle's Diseases to the domestic bird population," said Ana Hinojosa, U.S. Customs and Border Protection director of Field Operations in El Paso. "Travelers should also avoid importing prohibited agricultural items because they may introduce pests to U.S. farms."
Including the previously mentioned enforcement action, area CBP officers made a total of seven seizures of prohibited food and agricultural items this week, resulting in $1,475 in fines being assessed. Prohibited items seized this week included pork skins, apples, oranges, avocados, guavas, sweet limes, zapotes, cherimoyas and live plants.
During the previous four days, area CBP officers uncovered 59 immigration violations. Intended immigrants made up the largest group of violators. A total of 31 were identified through thorough document exams. In these cases, individuals will use a legally issued border-crossing card (laser visa) to live or work in the U.S., which is not authorized. Violators generally lose their documents and are returned to Mexico.
CBP officers this week also identified 19 imposters while performing inspection at area ports. Imposters generally will use a legitimate entry document assigned to another person and present it as their own. CBP officers also recorded nine cases of people making false claims to U.S. citizenship, people attempting to enter with counterfeit or altered documents, and people attempting to enter without inspection.
In addition to the immigration violations, area CBP officers made 13 drug seizures during the holiday weekend. CBP officers seized 828 pounds of marijuana.
CBP officers this weekend also identified 24 people who were being sought by various law enforcement agencies, seized $40,344 in unreported currency in two cases, and recovered two stolen vehicles. 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.