450 illegal pork tamales seized at Los Angeles airport

This undated photo released by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) shows seized 450 prohibited pork meat tamales discovered inside the luggage of a passenger arriving at the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) from Mexico, on Nov. 2, 2015, in Los Angeles. The traveler was assessed a $1,000.00 civil penalty for commercial activity with the intent to distribute. The pork meat tamales were seized and destroyed under CBP supervision. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection via AP)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The latest large seizure of illegal contraband at Los Angeles International Airport didn’t involve narcotics.

Federal authorities seized 450 pork tamales from the luggage of a traveler arriving from Mexico.

This undated photo released by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) shows seized 450 prohibited pork meat tamales discovered inside the luggage of a passenger arriving at the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) from Mexico, on Nov. 2, 2015, in Los Angeles. “Although tamales are a popular holiday tradition, foreign meat products can carry serious animal diseases from countries affected by outbreaks of Avian Influenza, Mad Cow and Swine Fever said Anne Maricich, CBP Acting Director of Field Operations in Los Angeles. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection via AP)
(U.S. Customs and Border Protection via AP)

U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Wednesday that the traveler’s customs form acknowledged the person was carrying food, but the traveler lied when asked if there was any meat.

A search turned up the individually wrapped pork tamales. The CBP enforces federal regulations on importing meat, which carry disease risks.

“Although tamales are a popular holiday tradition, foreign meat products can carry serious animal diseases,” said Anne Maricich, CBP acting director of field operations in Los Angeles.

The tamales were destroyed under CBP supervision.

The traveler was assessed a $1,000 civil penalty for commercial activity with the intent to distribute.

During fiscal year 2014, CBP agriculture specialists nationwide issued 75,330 civil violations and intercepted more than 1.6 million animal by-product, meat and plant/soil quarantine products.

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