Coronavirus scare: CBP seizes package of dead birds at airport – traveler flew in from China

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VIRGINIA- Officials say a threat was stopped at a U.S. airport – but it’s a very different one than they’re use to.

According to a press release by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, agriculture specialists from the CBP recently seized a package of deceased birds from a traveler’s luggage from the Washington Dulles International Airport.

The bizarre discovery, which was found in possession of a passenger who arrived from a flight from Beijing, China, was apparently packaged as some sort of pet food.  This as Coronavirus fears grip the world.

The traveler had arrived at the Dulles, Virginia airport on January 27th and was destined continue on to Prince George’s County, Maryland.

After coming back from abroad, CBP engaged in a baggage examination – something fairly standard for international flyers heading back stateside. That’s when agents had discovered a package adorned with a picture of a cat and a dog on it, containing several small, dead birds.

 

 

According to CBP, the deceased birds are forbidden from entering the country via import or other means due to the potential threat of the highly pathogenic avian influenza.

The package and contents were then incinerated under the direction and approval of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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Casey Durst, Director of Field Operations for CBP’s Baltimore Field Office, stated the following on the discovery and seizure:

“These dead birds are prohibited from importation to the United States as unprocessed birds pose a potentially significant disease threat to our nation’s poultry industries and more alarmingly to our citizens as potential vectors of avian influenza.”

According to the CDC, the avian influenza (commonly called the bird flu) occurs naturally among wild, aquatic birds across the world and is capable of infecting not only poultry, but also other bird and animal species.

While the CDC notes that human contraction of the avian influenza isn’t common, there have been reported cases of human infection of the virus. The virus is shed though the saliva, mucous and feces of the infected birds. Thus, human contraction can occur when a person gets the virus in their eyes, nose, mouth, or inhales too much of the airborne virus.

Director Durst continued commenting on the seized birds:

“Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists continue to exercise extraordinary vigilance every day in their fight to protect our nation’s agricultural and economic prosperity from invasive pests and animal diseases.” 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and the CDC all play a role in the regulation of what animals and animal products can be imported or introduced into the United States.

CBP agriculture specialists often serve as a first line of defense from potentially hazardous products making their way into the country.

The CBP states that these agents carry extensive training and experience in biological sciences and agricultural inspection. This faction of the agency typically inspects tens of thousands of international flyers, and air and sea cargoes being imported to the United States.

The agency also noted that on a daily average from 2019, CBP agriculture specialists “seized 4,695 prohibited plant, meat, animal byproduct, and soil, and intercepted 314 insect pests at U.S. ports of entry.”

While the bag in department photos appeared to be sealed, we couldn’t locate the same item sold online, or any item similar to it.

Yet, while there are certainly some cultural differences between the United States and China, it does seem odd that prepackaged deceased birds would be used as a cat or dog treat. Especially considering the risks of animals feeding on any kind of dead bird. 

Just days before that bust, CBP snagged a grandma in a different bust.  In this one, they say the woman was smuggling 200 pounds of meth into California.

Methamphetamines are an illegal drug in the same class as cocaine and other powerful street drugs. It has many nicknames—meth, crank, ice, chalk and speed being some of the more common terms.

It is an absolute life-destroying recreational drug, but that certainly doesn’t stop people from manufacturing, distributing or using it.

A grandmother and her granddaughter are accused of trying to smuggle 200 pounds of methamphetamine through a California border checkpoint.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Andrade Port of Entry, near the state line between Arizona and California, stopped the pair around 12:30 p.m. on January 19th.

The 65-year old woman and her 19-year old granddaughter, both U.S. citizens, were driving a Dodge Durango that border officers examined with a drug-sniffing dog. According to CBP, the dog reacted strongly enough to refer the vehicle for deeper inspection.

Authorities started digging through the SUV and ended up finding 299 packages of meth in the vehicle’s roof, doors and quarter panels. The packages weighed an estimated 219 pounds, worth around $416,000 on the street, CBP said.

Both women were arrested and turned over to Homeland Security, according to officials.

“These cases are just examples of the apprehensions CBP officers catch on a daily basis,” said Pete Flores, Director of Field Operations for CBP in San Diego. “CBP officers are vigilant to stop those who would do harm in our communities at the border, as they attempt to enter the U.S.”

Coronavirus scare: CBP seizes package of dead birds at airport - traveler flew in from China
Customs and Border Patrol K-9

 

Sadly, it does get past the watchful eyes of law enforcement, both at the borders, and in our interior communities. And the use of meth impacts even those who are not using it.

An infant in northern Indiana has died after detectives say she overdosed on methamphetamine that was likely ingested from her mother’s breast milk.

According to court documents, Ashlee Rans, 36, called 911 on December 19, 2019 and said she had rolled over onto her 2 -month-old, Nevaeh, while she was sleeping.

 

After a full autopsy and toxicology report was received by the coroner’s office in January 2020, Nevaeh’s death was determined to be a homicide. The official report showed the infant had died from acute methamphetamine intoxication. The toxicology report shows that at the time of her death, the baby had both amphetamine and methamphetamine in her system.

According to court documents officially filed against Rans on January 15, she initially only admitted to smoking marijuana.

After the Nevaeh’s autopsy results came back, she admitted to detectives that she had also been using methamphetamine and knew that the drug could be dangerous to her child while breast feeding. She claimed that she had purchased meth at a gas station two days before Nevaeh’s death.

Coronavirus scare: CBP seizes package of dead birds at airport - traveler flew in from China
Infant killed by meth-contaminated breast milk

 

Rans said the first time she used meth after giving birth was about two weeks before Nevaeh’s death, according to court documents. And she said she did not use drugs during pregnancy.

Rans is now charged with neglect of a dependent resulting in death. She faces between 20 and 40 years in prison if convicted.

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