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Customs inspectors seizes agricultural pest at Arizona border

Published on January 30, 2013 3:01AM

Last changed on January 30, 2013 4:11AM

NOGALES, Ariz. (AP) -- Federal authorities say they've stopped potentially dangerous agricultural pest from entering southern Arizona.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection specialists at the Port of Mariposa discovered the insect known as an Asian citrus psyllid.

That's an aphid-like insect that feeds on the leaves and stems of citrus trees and other citrus-like plants.

Authorities say the real danger lies in that it can carry a deadly, bacterial tree disease known as Citrus Greening Disease.

CBP agriculture specialists discovered the pest among items concealed in a bag of fresh citrus leaves. The leaves were in a private vehicle trying to enter Arizona earlier this month from Mexico.

When officers referred the vehicle for secondary inspection, a detection dog alerted them to live plants. The driver paid a civil penalty for failure to declare.

Copyright 2013 The AP.


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