CBP completes holiday crackdown
Customs and Border Protection's New York regional office said Monday it concluded a two-week campaign aimed at preventing illegal imports of meats, plants, fruits and vegetables being brought into the country for festivities timed with the Chinese New Year.
Operation 'Lunar Eclipse' focused on passengers arriving at Newark Liberty International Airport from China and Hong Kong. A total of 7,500 passengers were selected for examination during the operation. Agriculture specialist K-9 teams also played a part in the operation.
CBP seized 340 prohibited animal meats weighing over 900 pounds, interdicted 177 prohibited plant products, and issued 152 civil penalties totaling $36,000 for failure to declare these agriculture products.
Animal products seized included ducks, beef, soup mixes that contain beef, poultry, and pork. Plant product interdictions included litchis, mangoes, longans, squash, jujube, dragon fruit, citrus peel, tangerines, and hot peppers.
Although the operation focused on passengers arriving from China and Hong Kong, CBP remained vigilant during its daily operations and collectively issued 243 civil penalties during the two-week operation for a total penalty amount of $55,000.
'Foreign animal and plant diseases are a significant threat to the American agriculture industry and any accidental or intentional introduction of such diseases or pest could have a devastating effect on our crops, farming industry and economy,' said CBP Director of Field Operations Robert E. Perez, in a statement.