JAMAICA, Queens (WABC) -- A passenger was arrested last weekend at John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens after authorities say he attempted to smuggle live birds concealed within hair rollers.
U. S. Customs and Border Protection agents stopped the arriving passenger on a flight from Georgetown, Guyana.
During the course of the inspection, they discovered 70 live finches in hair rollers inside a black duffel bag.
"CBP Agriculture Specialists are the first line of defense to prevent the introduction of animal diseases that have the potential to cause significant damage to the nation's agricultural economy," said Troy Miller, director of field operations, New York Field Office.
A U.S. outbreak of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza, commonly known as bird flu, resulted in the culling of 50 million commercial turkeys and chickens and $850 million in damages in 2015.
The finches were detained under quarantine and turned over to United States Department of Agriculture Veterinary Services.