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Bird Smuggler Busted At Miami International Airport

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – It wasn't drugs that got a smuggler in trouble at Miami International Airport, but birds. A couple of small birds stuffed into a bottle.

On Monday, February 24, a man arriving on a flight from Varadero, Cuba was stopped with a plastic bottle that had two finches inside. One bird was dead, but the other was still alive.

Customs and Border Protection officers discovered the birds in a small medicine bottle, marked Vitamin C-500 MG, with little holes drilled in it.

"Wild birds can carry viruses that are harmful to humans and agriculture," said Chris Maston, CBP Port Director of Field Operation at Miami International Airport.

The birds were tentatively identified as Cuban grassquits, a type of finch.

The finches were turned over to U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Veterinary Services because they were smuggled into the U.S. in violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, a federal law created to protect birds.

Wildlife smuggling is the fourth-largest illicit trade (after narcotics, human trafficking and counterfeit products) according the nonprofit World Wildlife Fund.

To report suspicious activity to U.S. Customs and Border Protection: Call 800 BE ALERT or (800) 232-5378

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