DETROIT (AP) — Federal agents in Michigan discovered an invasive beetle when a college student entered the U.S. from Canada last year, the first time that the voracious khapra beetle has been detected at a northern border, authorities said Wednesday.
The beetle was among many things seized at Michigan-Ontario border crossings and Detroit Metropolitan Airport, including guns, drugs, counterfeit products, illegal food products and suspicious cash, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said.
The agency displayed a sample of the contraband at its cargo facility near the Ambassador Bridge in Detroit.
“It’s no secret that our mission is complex. … Some of our work goes unknown by the American public,” said Christopher Perry, who oversees CBP’s Michigan operations.
The khapra beetle was found last summer among documents when a Canadian resident entered the U.S. via the Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron. The U.S. Agriculture Department calls it “one of the world’s most destructive pests,” feasting on grain and seeds. It is native to India.
“This was all unintentional,” said Mike Fox, CBP’s Port Huron port director. “To narrow down where that insect came from in Canada — it’s a long shot.”
He said the beetle hadn’t been found at a U.S. northern border before the Port Huron discovery.
The government said it seized 600 pounds of cocaine, 496 pounds of marijuana, 62 guns and $7.8 million in undeclared currency at Michigan-Ontario border crossings and the Detroit airport during the 2018-19 fiscal year.
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