50 wheels of contraband cheese seized at U.S. border

FAN Editor

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers made an unusual discovery at a Texas border crossing last week — a woman was trying to enter the U.S. with 100 pounds of undeclared cheese.

A woman driving an SUV arrived at the Paso Del Norte border crossing in El Paso just before 7 a.m. on Sept. 6, according to a press release from CBP. She was from Albuquerque, New Mexico, and was entering Texas from Mexico.

illegal-cheese.jpg
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers reported seizing some 100 pounds of undeclared cheese at the Texas-Mexico border on Sept. 6, 2022. U.S. Customs and Border Protection

The woman declared 10 wheels of cheese, but when officers inspected her car, they found an additional 50 wheels of undeclared cheese hidden “under blankets in the back row of the vehicle,” CBP said. In total, the contraband cheese weighed about 100 pounds.

The cheese was seized and destroyed, and the woman received a $1,000 civil penalty.

“Travelers can import cheese commensurate with personal consumption levels,” CBP El Paso Port director Ray Provencio said in a statement. “A few wheels would generally be fine, but not 60. It was undeclared, and that amount would be a commercial quantity, and additional reporting requirements would apply.”

Most dairy products arriving to the U.S. are subject to quota restrictions from CBP and the Department of Agriculture, and all products must meet requirements set out by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and the Food and Drug Administration, according to CBP.

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