Port Huron, Mich. - CBP officers at the Bluewater Bridge discovered an unwanted alien hitching a ride in a suitcase on Friday, June 17. A family returning home from a trip to India by way of Toronto unwittingly provided a ride to three khapra beetles.
On Friday June 17, at about 2 p.m., a vehicle containing three U.S. Citizens returning to their home in Michigan, arrived at the Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron, Mich. The family had flown to Toronto from India and then driven directly to the land border. The CBP officer who encountered the family referred them for further examination, to include an Agriculture Inspection, because he realized the family was arriving directly off a flight from an area where khapra beetles are found.
A CBP agriculture specialist inspected their baggage and found two live larvae and one live adult beetle in one of the family's pieces of luggage. It appeared that the bugs were eating glue on decorative feather fans the family had purchased in India. The family's luggage was immediately detained and quarantined pending final identification of the bugs by a USDA Entomologist. On Wednesday, June 22, confirmation was received that the intercepted bugs were indeed khapra beetles.
"The interception resulted from the initial CBP officer realizing that the family was coming from an area known to have khapra beetle," said Port Director David Dusellier. "Using this knowledge he referred the vehicle to our Agriculture Specialists, preventing this very dangerous bug from making its way into the U.S."
"It is a tribute to the training and teamwork of our officers and specialist, that we could target for and find a two millimeter long insect that poses such a serious threat to American agriculture," said Agriculture Supervisory Specialist Bob Forbes.
This interception resulted in three firsts for Khapra Beetles; the first time Khapra Beetle has been intercepted in handicrafts, a first time interception in passenger baggage at the Canadian border and the first interception of Khapra Beetle at the port of Port Huron.
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.