(Monday, May 16, 2011)
Santa Teresa, New Mexico - U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers working at the Santa Teresa port of entry seized 35 rolls of Mexican bologna Friday. The contraband meat weighed a total of 385 pounds.
“This is a prohibited product because it is made from pork and has the potential for introducing foreign animal diseases to the U.S. pork industry,” said Grace Gomez, Santa Teresa Port Director for U.S. Customs and Border Protection. “This seizure really stands out because when we seize bologna it is usually a small quantity or at most a roll or two.”
The seizure was made just before 7:00 a.m. Friday when a 2003 Dodge Ram pickup arrived at the port from Mexico. CBP officers received a negative declaration for any products from the driver of the truck. CBP officers performed an inspection and located 35 rolls of Mexican pork bologna hidden behind the seat. The driver, a 33-year-old resident of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, was assessed a $1,000 civil penalty and was released. The prohibited bologna was seized by CBP.
“Travelers can avoid penalties by declaring all agricultural items they are importing. If the item they declare is prohibited it can be abandoned at the port without consequence,” said Gomez. “Some foods and agricultural products are prohibited because they can introduce disease and pests to the U.S. agricultural industry.”
The massive seizure is the largest bologna bust ever recorded at the Santa Teresa crossing and the largest in the El Paso since 81 rolls of bologna weighing 756 pounds was made at the El Paso port of entry in November of 2003.
While anti-terrorism is the primary mission of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the inspection process at the ports of entry associated with this mission results in impressive numbers of enforcement actions in all categories.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.