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September 8, 09

NEWS / CBP Agriculture Specialists Continue to Discover Pests at Nogales Port of Entry

Nogales, Ariz. - Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists working at the Mariposa cargo facility continue their efforts to keep the American agriculture industry and food supply safe by stopping pests and disease from being brought into the country, as evidence by their interception of 99 shipments of corn discovered to have corn rootworms (Diabrotica variegata) and leaf beetles (Chrysomedidae) since January of this year.

“Our responsibilities include keeping the American people safe on all levels, including from pests and diseases that could affect our agricultural industry and food supply,” said Port Director Guadalupe Ramirez, “and these successes are a testament to the dedication of our agriculture specialists.”

These pests are not known to occur in the United States and pose a significant threat to plants because the pest’s larval stage targets corn roots and the adult stage targets many different plants, such as broccoli, Chinese cabbage, and other cruciferous vegetables, causing an estimated $1 billion in losses every year.

Agriculture specialists also work to ensure travelers do not bring in prohibited agricultural items that could bring pests and diseases into the country. During the weekend of August 21, CBP agriculture specialists in Nogales issued $3,225 in penalties for undeclared or smuggled prohibited articles, including 90 guavas, 55 jarillas, 28 apples, 13 hog plums, 11 oranges, nine kilograms of pork products, seven quince, four coconuts, three plants with soil, two kilograms of fresh lemongrass and other unknown herbs, two avocados, two sweet limes, and one pomegranate. They also seized 244 other plant quarantine materials and 47 animal products.

During subsequent inspections of the seized items, they discovered 36 pests that were sent to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for identification.

CBP agriculture specialists have extensive training and experience in agricultural and biological inspection. Their historic mission of preventing the introduction of harmful plant pests into the United States provides CBP with the expertise to recognize and prevent the entry of organisms that could potentially devastate entire segments of our agriculture-related economy.




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