Security agencies found 70 finches being smuggled into the John F Kennedy International Airport in New York. These live birds were taken in hair rollers, inside a duffle bag.
The United States Customs and Border Protection agents stopped the passenger traveling from Guyana to New York on Saturday. The birds were carried in a small, plastic roller, the agency has detained and quarantined the birds.
The passenger was barred from entering the United States, penalties and fines, for smuggling birds into the country, would be applied on the passenger.
In the past 18 months, federal agents in New York airport have seized close to 200 finches. The birds were sedated and hidden inside hair rollers or toilet paper tubes, and attempt to sneak them in.
Finches are used for gambling purposes – people may bet on which bird will chirp the loudest or how many times it will chirp in a minute. These small birds range between $18 to $25.
The birds detained at JFK airport are in custody of the US Department of Agriculture’s Veterinary Services office.
It is illegal to import birds without protocols, or proper paperwork in the United States.