U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers working at ports of entry in El Paso, west Texas and New Mexico seized a wide variety of items during the last seven days to include drugs, unreported currency, prohibited food products and more.
“The vast majority of the thousands of people CBP officers encounter on a daily basis are involved in legitimate trade and travel,” said CBP El Paso Director of Field Operation Hector Mancha. “However the attention to detail and professionalism exhibited by the CBP workforce will routinely identify and uncover those who choose to participate in illegal activity.”
One of the most unusual seizures of the week occurred March 8 at the Columbus port of entry in southern New Mexico when CBP officers encountered a man attempting to smuggle two parrots from Mexico to the U.S. CBP officers were performing a primary inspection of a vehicle that arrived from Palomas and received a negative declaration for any plants, food or animals. The driver advised that he had nothing to declare.
The vehicle was referred for a secondary exam during which a CBP agriculture specialists located a shoe box hidden beneath the center console of the car. When they opened the box they discovered two live birds. The driver of the car abandoned the birds and was assessed a $300 civil penalty. The parrots were seized and turned over to USDA veterinary services for processing. The seized birds were confirmed by U.S. Fish & Wildlife as CITES I species, Lilac-Crowned Parrots (Amazona finschi).
In addition to the birds area CBP officers made 21 drug seizures this week. The contraband included methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, fentanyl, and marijuana. CBP officers also seized prohibited medications from four border crossers.
CBP officers performing their primary inspection duties identified and apprehended 19 people being sought on National Crime Information Center (NCIC) warrants. Enforcement activity also included five seizures of unreported currency, one ammunition seizure, and three export violations.
CBP agriculture specialists assessed penalties in nine cases this week during which travelers attempted to import prohibited items. The contraband included mangos, poultry, fresh eggs, pork oranges, avocados, peppers and live plants.