Something Tickles: Live Parrots Smuggled In Elmo Doll

July 10, 2014

Agriculture specialists with Customs and Border Protection made a somewhat unusual seizure at the border early this month.

The seizures came after CBP referred a California couple for an intensive agriculture inspection as they attempted to enter the United States at San Luis, Ariz. An agriculture specialist first found a grocery bag full of mangos with seeds.

A second agent then asked to inspect the couple’s Elmo doll. After an x-ray revealed an anomaly inside, the doll was cut open and two live parrots were found inside.

CBP seized the prohibited birds and fruit under the Animal Health Protection Act and the Plant Protection Act. The couple was fined $300 and released.

All birds being brought into the country, except those from Canada, must be quarantined for 30 days at a USDA bird quarantine facility. 

The birds were sent to a USDA bird holding facility. The mangos were destroyed on site, per USDA policy.