EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – This week, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers working at ports of entry in El Paso, west Texas and New Mexico seized a wide variety of items during the last seven days.

One of the most unusual seizures of the week occurred March 8 at the Columbus port of entry in southern New Mexico.

According to officials, CBP officers came across a man attempting to smuggle two parrots from Mexico to the U.S.

CBP officers were performing a primary inspection of a vehicle that arrived from Palomas. The driver told CBP officer he had no plants, food or animals to declare.

The man and his vehicle was referred for a second exam, during which a CBP agriculture specialists located a shoe box hidden beneath the center console of the car. When they opened the box they discovered two live birds.

The driver of the car abandoned the birds and was assessed a $300 civil penalty. The parrots were seized and turned over to USDA veterinary services for processing.

The seized birds were confirmed by U.S. Fish & Wildlife as CITES I species, Lilac-Crowned Parrots (Amazona finschi). 

In addition to the birds area CBP officers made 21 drug seizures this week. The contraband included methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, fentanyl, and marijuana. CBP officers also seized prohibited medications from four border crossers.

CBP officers performing their primary inspection duties identified and apprehended 19 people being sought on National Crime Information Center (NCIC) warrants. Enforcement activity also included five seizures of unreported currency, one ammunition seizure, and three export violations.

CBP agriculture specialists assessed penalties in nine cases this week during which travelers attempted to import prohibited items, including mangos, poultry, fresh eggs, pork oranges, avocados, peppers and live plants.

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