U.S. Customs and Border Protection is reminding the traveling public to declare all plants, flowers, groceries, prepared foods, medication, alcoholic beverages, and spirits. Undeclared prohibited products may result in a penalty. | Photo courtesy CBP
U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers and CBP Agriculture Specialists working at El Paso area ports of entry made nine agriculture seizures during the previous week.
Violators were fined a combined $2,400 and had their prohibited items seized. Included in those seizures were peppers and tomatoes, which have been prohibited for entry since November 2019.
CBP continues its inspections of imported tomato and pepper fruit, seed lots and transplants entering at all U.S. ports to prevent the introduction of Tomato Brown Rugose Fruit Virus and protect the multi-billion dollar U.S. tomato and pepper production industry.
“Tomato brown rugose fruit virus can cause severe fruit loss in tomatoes and peppers,” CBP officials shared. “It is easily spread through the use of contaminated tools, hands, and plant-to-plant contact.”
Travelers are reminded to declare all items they are importing. If CBP determines an item is prohibited the materials can generally be abandoned without consequence.
“Homeland security is the primary mission however the inspections CBP officers perform identify a wide variety of violations every day,” said CBP El Paso Director of Field Operations Hector A. Mancha.
In addition to the agriculture violations, CBP Officers working at area ports identified and took into custody 19 people being sought in the National Crime Information Center database.
CBP officers also recorded 11 drug seizures during the previous seven days including marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin and fentanyl. CBP officers also recorded 19 vehicle export violations during the last week.