US couple fined for smuggling chickpeas, popcorn from India

Washington: An American couple was fined for trying to smuggle into the US about 30 pounds of undeclared and prohibited food products from India.

Customs and Border Police (CBP) seized 25 pounds of chickpeas and five pounds of popcorn with green curry leaves from the couple, who tried to sneak in these product unauthorisedly in seven of the eight bags they were bringing from India.

 US couple fined for smuggling chickpeas, popcorn from India

US airport. Getty image

The couple, whose names have not been released by the US CBP, were coming from India and live in Pennsylvania. They have been slapped with a fine of USD 500. The CBP described it as a rare incident.

"Rarely do CBP agriculture specialists encounter such a brazen attempt like they did Tuesday when a West Chester, Pennsylvania, couple attempted to smuggle about 30 pounds of undeclared and prohibited food products from India through Washington Dulles International Airport inside seven of their eight suitcases," CBP said in a statement.

The couple returned from India through Dubai and processed their international arrivals separately at the Global Entry self-help kiosks.

Neither traveller declared possessing any food products. CBP officers referred them to a secondary compliance inspection. During that secondary inspection, the couple again declared not possessing food products in any of their eight pieces of baggage.

After further questioning, they then declared possessing only sweets and spices. When a CBP agriculture specialist passed each bag through an x-ray, anomalies were detected in seven bags. Further examination discovered about 25 pounds of chickpeas and five pounds of popcorn with green curry leaves, CBP said.

Chickpeas from India are prohibited due to the possible introduction of harmful plant diseases and insect pests, such as the highly destructive Khapra beetle, the statement said.

PTI

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Updated Date: Feb 04, 2014 22:45:05 IST