El Paso, Texas -- U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers working at an El Paso port of entry seized pickled pork skins that were hidden in a container of coffee creamer. The product was seized and the person attempting to smuggle the pork skins was fined $300.
The seizure was made just before noon Saturday at the Paso Del Norte international crossing in downtown El Paso. A man from Denver entered the port as a pedestrian and made a negative declaration to CBP officers. During a secondary x-ray examination of his bags a CBP agriculture specialist observed an anomaly in the appearance of his goods. The man again made a negative declaration to CBP. The CBP agriculture specialist continued his exam and discovered three kilograms of pickled pork skins concealed in a plastic coffee creamer container. The traveler paid a $300 penalty and continued his journey. The prohibited product was seized and destroyed.
"This item is prohibited because it has the potential for introducing foreign animal diseases to the U.S. pork industry," said Hector Mancha, El Paso Port Director for U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
"The best thing a traveler can do to avoid penalties and protect the U.S. agricultural industry is to declare all items they are importing," said Mancha. "If the item they declare is prohibited it can be abandoned at the port without consequence."
Since Saturday CBP officers and agricultural specialists working at the El Paso port of entry have made seven seizures of prohibited agricultural products. Violators were assessed penalties totaling $1,825. Prohibited items include pork skins, raw pork, chorizo, apples, avocados, potatoes, and fresh eggs.
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.