In a recent inspection of cargo at the Port of Saipan, CNMI quarantine officers intercepted undeclared and prohibited items imported by P&A Corp.
During the initial hold of cargo to search for imported monosodium glutamate seasoning, inspectors found several undeclared items consisting of syringes with medicinal fluids used on pigs and cows.
The inspectors noted that the inspection also uncovered soil on the cabin of the commercial truck used to carry the undeclared items, which is a prohibited movement from foreign countries into U.S. territory.
Lands and Natural Resources Secretary Anthony Benavente said the importation of live veterinary vaccines, viruses, microorganisms, pathogenic organisms, and parasites is prohibited by law unless a permit is issued prior to importation.
“Quarantine had intercepted the vehicle and conducted the removal of soil from the bottom of the cabin as well as other parts of the vehicle. We want to let our business community know that any agricultural substances are prohibited, especially when not declared or fully documented. These substances have been confiscated and are awaiting consignee to pay for incineration,” Benavente said.
Strict enforcement has curbed illegal importations, but that agricultural importations remain a concern.
In mid-July, Division of Customs director Jose Mafnas highlighted the improvements of the customs operations, specifically detection and sanctions of undeclared commodities.
“Strict enforcement, which has steadily progressed since last year, has allowed our inspection process to increase revenue generation and allow our officers to better detect suspicious importations. Scrutinizing the detection of undervalued high tax rate commodities, detection of undeclared commodities, and increasing the fines and sanctions of counterfeit goods have definitely benefitted the economy,” he said.
Gov. Ralph DLG Torres commended the Department of Lands and Natural Resources and the Division of Customs for their work in the recent interception and that this vigilance continues to play a crucial role in protecting the CNMI’s borders.
“Our customs and inspection officers are on our frontlines, and their work in intercepting illegal substances and prohibited agricultural items has safeguarded our islands. The prevention and eradication of contagious and infectious diseases among animals and plant products is always a concern, and I thank our inspectors for their ongoing commitment,” Torres said. (PR)