Laredo Sector Customs and Border Protection officers seized an unusual combination of contraband at a Texas-Mexico port of entry consisting of pork, poultry, and heroin.
CBP officers assigned to the Juarez-Lincoln Bridge referred a 2007 Nissan Armada to a secondary inspection station where a K-9 agricultural officer alerted to the possible presence of contraband, according to a release.
The officers then conducted a physical inspection involving CBP agricultural specialists. The search uncovered 66 pounds of pork and 33 pounds of poultry hidden inside the vehicle panels and seats, officials stated. A further search revealed a personal-use quantity of heroin.
The officers seized the vehicle and assessed a $1,000 penalty for the prohibited agricultural products. Officials did not disclose if the driver faces any criminal prosecution for smuggling or the possession of the personal-use quantity of heroin.
In addition to preventing the smuggling of drug and human cargo through ports of entry, CBP officers are tasked with protecting domestic agriculture from harmful pests. This mission also includes, as in this case, preventing the spread of disease from un-inspected meat.
Additionally, CBP officers search for people attempting to smuggle other prohibited items such as animal skins from protected species.
Officers assigned to the Dulles International Airport conducted a cargo inspection in late August and found animal heads, moldy skins, and 22 pounds of Giant African Land Snail shells. The shipper marked the container as being packed with “African drums and clothes,” officials stated. Inspectors from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services joined the CBP agricultural specialists in identifying the skis as being removed from bushbuck, genet, civet, and other unknown animals, officials stated.
“Bushbuck is a species of antelope, while genet and civet are small cat-like mammals,” CBP officials explained. “The head skins were mounted on unprocessed wood carvings.”
“Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists protect our nation’s agriculture and economy from a variety of potential threats every day, from the innocuous hotel fruit and airport sandwiches to the more serious unfinished animal pelts that may be a vector for economy-crippling animal diseases,” said Casey Durst, Director of Field Operations for CBP’s Baltimore Field Office. “CBP agriculture specialists continue to exercise extraordinary vigilance in their fight to protect our nation’s agriculture and economic prosperity from invasive pests and animal diseases.”