EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) - U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized of "hundreds" of prohibited items and "dozens" of pests over the Mother's Day holiday as part of its floral enforcement effort.
CBP says its agriculture specialists issued $1,125 in penalties from attempted imports of prohibited plants. Two travelers were cited for importing "commercial quantities" of flowers through passenger processing lanes. Officials say commercial goods must instead be processed through cargo facilities.
During the six-day enforcement effort, agriculture specialists performed up to 900 vehicle exams, more than 300 bus inspections, and checked the goods of more than 62,000 pedestrians and nearly 4,000 bus passengers.
They also inspected more than 7,600 flower stems, recorded 480 quarantine material interceptions, and identified 34 pests, according to a news release. CBP says this helps prevent the introduction of insects, pests, and diseases brought into the country.
CBP urges the public to refer to its website to see which flowers are and are not allowed prior to bringing them across the border. Gladiolas, chrysanthemums, and choysia are among those prohibited due to pest risk.
Mother's Day, Easter weekend, and Valentine's Day are traditionally the busiest times for agriculture specialists, according to CBP.