WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- A man arriving at JFK International Airport from Guyana attempted to smuggle 29 live finches into the US.
- Officers found the birds hidden in hair rollers in the man’s luggage.
- The birds were confiscated, quarantined, then handed off to USDA Veterinary Services to prevent the possible spread of any diseases like bird flu.
A man attempted to smuggle 29 live finches into the US on Sunday. The Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers discovered the birds “concealed in hair rollers” during a secondary search of the traveler’s luggage.
The 26-year old man, who arrived from Guyana, was not criminally charged, however. He returned to Guyana on Monday after he was allowed to withdraw his request to enter the country. He was also fined $300 by the CBP. The birds were seized and quarantined under the advisement of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services. The finches were then handed off to USDA Veterinary Services.
The birds being stuffed into hair curlers to smuggle them “shows the horror of wildlife trafficking”, said Special Agent in Charge for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement, Ryan Noel.
In the CBP media release this week, the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service warns that improperly imported birds can risk the spread of bird flu to the poultry industry. The USDA also says that any shipment of more than six birds is considered commercial.
This isn’t the first time this strange incident has occurred. The CBP has confiscated shipments of live finches from Guyana being smuggled through JFK International Airport before. An arriving passenger attempted to smuggle 70 finches in his carry-on luggage back in 2018. The following year in 2019, a man from Connecticut was found to be smuggling 34 finches from South America. The two used hair curlers in their attempt to smuggle the birds during both incidents.
Source: Fox News