Customs officers discover 29 finches hidden in man's luggage at JFK Airport

QUEENS, New York (WABC) -- One traveler's bird-brained idea led to a shocking discovery at John F. Kennedy Airport.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers found 29 finches concealed in hair rollers, inside the bags of a man arriving from Guyana on Sunday, March 28.

The tiny birds were seized after officers consulted with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service inspectors.

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"Customs and Border Protection officers and agriculture specialists face a very complex and challenging task and that is to protect our nation, our citizens, our agricultural resources and our economic security, and they meet that challenge with extraordinary commitment and vigilance," said Marty Raybon, Acting Director of Field Operations for CBP's New York Field Office.

The 26-year-old man who was headed to an address in New Jersey, was not criminally charged, however he was fined $300 and put on a return flight to Guyana.



CBP agriculture specialists quarantined the finches and turned them over to U.S. Department of Agriculture Veterinary Services.

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