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Customs: Bird Smuggler Caught At JFK With Bag Full Of Finches

JAMAICA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- According to police, one traveler to New York carried a little secret cargo under his wing.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers and agriculture specialists at John F. Kennedy International Airport made an unusual discovery on March 3 after inspecting the luggage of a Guyanese national who had just arrived on a flight from Georgetown, Guyana.

CBP officers reportedly conducted an examination of the traveler's hand-carry bag and discovered 20 live finches held in tube-shaped enclosures.

Birds Seized At JFK Airport
A collection of 20 finches were seized from luggage at JFK Airport on March 3, 2018. (credit: U. S. Customs and Border Protection)

All 20 birds were seized and put in quarantine while the traveler was issues a $300 fine, refused entry into the United States and scheduled to return to Guyana.

"CBP's agriculture specialists protect our country every day from pests and diseases, the introduction of an animal or plant borne pest or disease could have a devastating impact on America's Agricultural industry." said Leon Hayward, Acting Director of CBP's New York Field Operations.

According to the CBP, all birds may also be subject to U.S. Department of Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service regulations. Pet birds are regulated since they can carry viral and bacterial diseases such as avian influenza, exotic Newcastle disease and psittacosis.

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