Latest seizure at LAX involves pork tamales, not narcotics

LOS ANGELES —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 traveller arriving from Mexico.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Wednesday that the traveller’s customs form acknowledged the person was carrying food, but the traveller 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 traveller 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.