San Diego - Ponche, a traditional Mexican holiday punch, is shared and enjoyed among many families along the Southwest Border during holiday seasons. However the ingredients used to make it, guavas, Hawthorne apples and sugar cane are all illegal when imported across the border. U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers and agriculture specialists at the ports are expecting an increase in the attempted importation of the prohibited ingredients through passenger ports.
CBP is advising the public the prohibited items pose significant pest risks. Both the guavas and Hawthorne apples are prohibited, under 7 CFR 319.56, and the sugar cane if imported freshly harvested is prohibited under 7 CFR 319.15.
According to Pete Flores, the acting Director of Field Operations in San Diego, the ports of entry are expecting an increase in attempts to illegally bring the Ponche ingredients across the border.
"I want to remind the public that these products are prohibited and failure to declare them could result in penalties," he said. "Historically, we've seen an increased rate of interception of these items during the holiday seasons."
According to CBP, officers and agriculture specialists will be on the lookout for individuals attempting to import these ponche ingredients through the passenger environment and will refer vehicles for secondary inspection that are believed to be transporting these and other prohibited items.
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.