Ruthless Peach Smuggler Nabbed At Logan

A kind reader named Doug pointed me to a story about the state treasurer of Massachusetts, who says his family was detained for an hour at Logan recently because his teenaged daughter had three unauthorized and undeclared peaches in her luggage.

Also, he was fined $300 and threatened with jail. (No, not Doug. The state treasurer. There is no penalty for sending stories to travel bloggers. Yet.)

I’m no mathematician, but I believe that comes out to $100 a peach. A little steep, no?

Here’s what I’m wondering: what’s the fine per grape? Or cherry? A fruit smuggler could get seriously bankrupt with penalties like that.

I’m not scoffing at the agricultural laws of the land. I know it’s important to control the importation of produce to prevent plant diseases, fruit addiction, toucan infestations and other, nameless perils. 

And I have no sympathy for peach smugglers because, frankly, the furry skin totally creeps me out. (Who can bite those things? Ewww.) But I might possibly have maybe overlooked a raspberry or two that got into my luggage somehow, once or possibly twice. And I recall being sternly questioned at the Canadian border over some stress-ball squeeze toys in my luggage that looked, on X-ray examination, alarmingly like apples.

But when a teenaged girl brings peaches aboard a nine-hour flight from Italy and then forgets or neglects to eat or declare them, a little perspective might be in order.

If there’s more to the story, perhaps the US Customs and Border Protection agency would like to share it with us? The Boston Globe tried but couldn’t turn up anybody to comment …


3 thoughts on “Ruthless Peach Smuggler Nabbed At Logan

  1. Jon

    Hey Jeanne – you should know that bloggers no longer have 1st amendment rights in CT. That was decided 2 weeks ago in Federal Court. Just be careful about the language you use when describing those peaches!

  2. Rob

    U.S Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will not fine a passenger because you have undeclared agriculture, they fine the passenger because of the several opppurtunities the passenger is given to declare their items acquired abroad/on the aircraft and for some reasone the passenger still “forgets”
    1.) On the Customs Declaration form, their is a simple question that reads do you have food yes or no?
    2.) Next, a Customs officer then reiterates the questions on the customs form, not to forget the question “Do you have any food or any thing edible with you today that you acquired abroad…including what was given to you on the plane?” This questions is not verbatim, but how an officer might pose the question.
    3.)Once the passenger is refered to an agriculture specialist the passenger is then asked a third and possibley fourth time the same agriculture questions preiviousley asked.
    The passenger is reminded that if items are found that they previousley failed to declare they may recieve civil penalty.
    This is where common sense comes to play, when a CBP officer asked these questions and he is telling you if your not sure you will receive a fine one might say “you know I’m not to sure if I have anything, I don’t get into trouble” If you tell the officer I might have some food but I dont’ remember and I’m not sure. If in fact food is found I can assure you no fine will be issued.
    Working in the airline environment I’ve seen this all too many times. If you were to conduct research you would find out of all the passengers that are stopped for an agricultural secondary inspection you would find it’s less then .25% of the traveling public have any problems. No fine, No Jail no problems!
    My take is the passengers father/mother probabley felt he/she was to high and mighty to be bothered with such unimportant things as a federal inspection and probabley had a serious attitude.
    We all no what the result was….

  3. Mary

    Re: the ruthless teenage peach smuggler – what probably happened is that Dad filled out the customs form and either did not know or forgot that daughter had peaches. It still is one customs form per family isn’t it?


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