In a recent incident at the US-Mexico border, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers successfully thwarted an attempt to smuggle thirteen live yellow-headed parrots into the United States. The incident took place on the afternoon of June 16 when a 26-year-old male, driving a 2010 sedan, applied for entry into the country from Mexico. The CBP officers, during an initial inspection, became suspicious and referred both the driver and the vehicle to secondary inspection for further examination.
During the secondary inspection, CBP agriculture specialists made a startling discovery. Hidden within two duffel bags in the trunk of the vehicle were thirteen live yellow-headed parrots. The officers immediately took control of the situation, ensuring the safety and well-being of the birds.
Sidney Aki, the CBP Director of Field Operations in San Diego, emphasized the importance of CBP's role in preventing smuggling attempts and the potential trafficking of endangered species. "CBP enforces hundreds of laws at the border for more than 40 different government agencies, in order to help stop smuggling attempts like these which can lead to trafficking of possibly endangered species," said Aki. He further expressed concern about the lack of regard for animal health and safety demonstrated by smugglers, highlighting CBP's commitment to enforcing guidelines set by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The driver was immediately detained for his involvement in the smuggling attempt and was subsequently handed over to Homeland Security Investigators and Fish and Wildlife Services for further processing.
As for the parrots, CBP agriculture specialists seized the birds and ensured they were placed in a secure and safe area. To ensure the absence of avian diseases, the parrots will undergo quarantine under the supervision of the USDA Veterinary Services.
This incident sheds light on the diligent work performed by CBP officers at the US-Mexico border. On a typical day in the fiscal year 2022, CBP agriculture specialists intercepted a staggering 240 pests at various US ports of entry, along with 2,677 materials, including plants, meat, animal byproducts, and soil, which were subject to quarantine. These numbers illustrate the critical role played by CBP in safeguarding American agriculture.