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A passenger who arrived in New York City on a flight from Guyana had 70 live birds hidden in a piece of luggage, according to federal agents.
The smuggling attempt was thwarted Saturday when U. S. Customs and Border Protection agents inspected a black duffel bag being carried by a traveler who flew from Georgetown to John F. Kennedy International Airport.
The traveler, a Guyanese citizen, was not arrested. Instead, he was not allowed entry into the U.S. and was returned to his home country.
Agents found the finches stuffed inside individual plastic hair curlers. The birds are often used in “singing contests” popular among Caribbean immigrants. The smuggling of finches from Guyana has previously resulted in the arrest of multiple travelers.
The seized finches were quarantined and subsequently turned over to Department of Agriculture officials.
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