World Man tries to smuggle 35 finches past NY customs for singing contests

07:05  28 april  2021
07:05  28 april  2021 Source:   afp.com

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New York (CNN) A man was arrested and charged with allegedly smuggling 35 live finches in hair curlers from Guyana for " singing contests " in New York City , according to a complaint from the US Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York . Kevin Andre McKenzie, a 36-year-old Guyanese resident, flew to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York on Monday, according McKenzie told officers that he had been offered ,000 to smuggle the birds, the complaint says. He allegedly was paid 0 before his flight and was to receive the remaining ,500 after he got through Customs .

A man was caught at JFK Airport on Monday allegedly trying to smuggle in 35 live finches from Guyana -- stuffed inside plastic hair curlers and concealed inside his clothes, authorities said. Kevin Andre McKenzie is just the latest alleged would-be songbird smuggler busted using the hair-accessory method to bring in the coveted creatures, which are used in high-stakes singing contests popular in Brooklyn and Queens. After McKenzie deplaned from a JetBlue flight originating in Georgetown, Guyana, CBP agents found the small seed-eating birds inside the curlers, which were covered with a

Customs officials at New York's JFK Airport discovered 35 live finches attached to a man's jacket and ankles as he attempted to smuggle them into the country for singing competitions, federal prosecutors said Tuesday.

a man in a cage: Two jury members listen during a finch singing contest in the city of Cayenne, French Guiana, in November 2020 © jody amiet Two jury members listen during a finch singing contest in the city of Cayenne, French Guiana, in November 2020

A search revealed the man was wearing dozens of small cylindrical containers with mesh-covered openings, allowing the birds inside to breathe, according to photos published online.

Approximately a dozen of the containers, which were made from hair curlers, were attached to the inside of his jacket, while the rest were wrapped around his ankles.

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A Connecticut man tried smuggling nearly three dozen live finches from Guyana through JFK Airport so he could sell them for use in high-stakes Big Apple bird- singing competitions, federal officials said. In recent years, according to the complaint, US Customs and Border Protection working at JFK Airport have stopped numerous people trying to illegally traffic the small seed-eating birds into the US from Guyana. Special Agent Gabriel Harper of the US Fish and Wildlife Service, who assisted in the Gurahoo investigation, wrote in the complaint that “individuals keep finches to enter them in singing

An American man has been arrested for smuggling finches into the US after he was found with 34 of the birds in his luggage as he disembarked from his plavne at JFK airport in New York . Francis Gurahoo, 39, was flying into the US from Guyana when he was stopped and found to be carrying the “[People] bet on how many times the finches will chirp in a minute, which finch chirps the most,” Anthony Bucci, a spokesman for United States Customs and Border Protection in New York , told the New York Times. “The most common animal we see trying to be smuggled through the passenger

When questioned, the man said that he was offered $3,000 to transport the birds, receiving $500 before he leaving the capital of Guyana, Georgetown. He was to receive the remaining balance upon delivery in the United States.

Finches are prized for their joyful and melodious song, with singing competitions regularly held in parts of the New York boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn, which include betting.

A winning finch can be worth more than $10,000, according to a special agent for the US Fish and Wildlife Service in the document released by prosecutors Tuesday.

Finches from Guyana are in particularly high demand due to their superior singing abilities.

The man was released on $25,000 bond, according to documents.

Worldwide, officials seized 20,762 wild animals in 2017, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), citing the last available figure.


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