Federal authorities busted a Guyanese man at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York over the weekend for trying to smuggle 70 live finches inside hair rollers from Guyana into the US.
According to the New York Post, the man, who was not named, had just arrived at the Queens airport on a flight from Georgetown on Saturday when US Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists stopped him.
During the course of inspection, the specialists discovered 70 finches concealed in orange hair rollers inside a black duffel bag.
The report said that the birds were turned over to the United States Department of Agriculture Veterinary Services.
The traveler who attempted to illegally traffic in the finches was not admitted to the US and was instead returned home, a Customs and Border Protection spokesman said.
“CBP Agriculture Specialists are the first line of defence to prevent the introduction of animal diseases that have the potential to cause significant damage to the Nation’s agricultural economy,” Troy Miller, director of CBP’s New York field office, said in a statement, according to the New York Post.
A 2015 outbreak of avian influenza, informally known as bird flu, in the US resulted in the culling of 50 million commercial turkeys and chickens as well as US$850 million in damage, according to the CBP.