Where's Donald Trump when you need him?
Federal officials said today that 450 “illegal” tamales were seized recently at LAX. The traveler who allegedly packed the delicacies in luggage was somewhat honest about it, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
The traveler, arriving from Mexico, marked yes on a customs declaration on the question of whether or not food was being brought into the airport. However, the traveler said no when asked if it contained pork.
It was all about the pork, as it should be when it comes to tamales.
Unfortunately, bringing in pork products from Mexico, with some exceptions, is illegal. And feds, apparently, know their meat.
“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,” explained Anne Maricich, the CBP's acting director of field operations in Los Angeles. “Every day CBP agriculture specialists prevent the intentional and unintentional introduction of harmful pests and foreign animal diseases into the U.S.”
In this case, CBP agriculture specialists found 450 pork tamales wrapped in plastic bags, feds said.
The punishment for this, with no due process, is a $1,000 civil penalty for suspected “commercial activity with the intent to distribute,” according to a CBP statement.
Distribute to whom?
As you probably know, holiday season is tamale season in Southern California. And 450 tamales could well be frozen to feed an extended family through New Year's Day.
We suspect the CBP will be snagging even more of this contraband in the weeks to come.
In the case of the 450 pork tamales, the agency says they were “destroyed under CBP supervision.” Props to these fine Americans for ridding Los Angeles of this scourge while meth and heroin continue to be plentiful in our neighborhoods.
And if this enforcement effort finds agents too busy to do the destroying, we'll volunteer to help out. We'll even bring our own salsa.