Wheels fall off Cheese smuggling attempt in El Paso

EL PASO, Texas (KWTX) – More than 100 pounds of undeclared cheese has been seized at the El Paso Del Norte border by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers.

The incident began shortly before 7 a.m. Sept. 7 when 2011 GMC Yukon arrived from Mexico and a woman declared 10 wheels of cheese to the CBP officer.

The CBP officer located the declared dairy product in the trunk area of the vehicle.

An additional 50 wheels of undeclared cheese were discovered hidden under blankets in the back row of the vehicle with each weighing approximately about 2 pounds.

The driver was assessed a $1,000 civil penalty and released.

The contraband cheese was seized and destroyed pursuant to existing guidelines.

“Travelers can import cheese commensurate with personal consumption levels,” said CBP El Paso Port Director Ray Provencio. “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.”

Milk, cream, ice cream, butter and many cheeses are subject to quota restrictions administered by both CBP and the Department of Agriculture.


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