Family Fined $300 For Having Apple, Tomato, 3 Cucumbers In Backpack At Newark Liberty

Steinbergers Had Just Gotten Off Flight From Israel, Forgot About Kid's Snack

MONSEY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A family of four from Florida visiting relatives in New Jersey got an unwelcome surprise at the Customs gate — all because of some forgotten fruit and vegetables.

The oversight was an expensive one that has the family fuming, reports CBS 2’s Sean Hennessey.

“I don’t have to be traumatized like this. Nobody should have to be traumatized,” Suri Steinberger said.

Suri and Peter Steinberger are livid after what they call an over-reaction by customs agents at Newark Liberty Airport. They were told they had violated a federal crime — forgetting about an apple, a tomato and three cucumbers in their son’s backpack.

“For me it was like, you know, what you see on TV. I thought I was going to get handcuffed, they have my kids. So I just started to cry,” Suri Steinberger said.

The run-in with Customs agents happened Thursday at the end of a long trip from Israel. Suri packed the vegetables as snack for her boys.

“Let them eat it on the plane instead of eating garbage,” Suri said.

The problem was she didn’t sit with her husband and two boys on the flight and Peter didn’t know the produce was in the bag.

So when the declaration form came around, Peter said he “checked no on all the boxes.”

Customs officials told Hennessey strict rules are for “agricultural integrity” and that passengers have multiple opportunities to amend the Customs declaration form.

“I have no idea what they mean by that except for the fact they say you should have been looking at the posted signs,” Peter said.

While passengers were stunned at the strictness, others said it was par for the course.

“Other countries do it, too. They’re pretty strict. I travel a lot for work and I get the same thing,” said Christine Colella of North Brunswick, N.J.

Customs did say it’s up to the discretion of the officer to “destroy” the product or “fine the traveler,” discretion this family said was sorely missing given the Customs sheet showing the prohibited items and their $300 fine.

“You’re coming off a flight after 19 hours. You’re all flustered. You don’t know what world you’re on. The first thing on your mind isn’t vegetables in your backpack,” Peter said.

The family hopes what happened is a lesson to others that even an innocent mistake at customs may be a costly one.

The Steinbergers said they don’t expect to get their money back but do plan on taking the case with higher ups at customs.

Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.

Comments

One Comment

  1. neworleansann says:

    I passed through Guatamala some years ago. Along the path I noticed many of the trees had a white cloth tied to a branch. Our tour driver told us that was because the trees had fruit flies. There is a very good reason for customs to do this, and I am glad they enforce it. An accident doesn’t count, because there could be significant devestation if something that invades and damages our food crops comes into our country. For anyone who wants to play the sympathy card, fine stop. You still pay consequences if you make mistakes. They should shut-up and pay the fine.

  2. Anthony Sood says:

    Oh don’t get me started on Ash trees. If it were up to me, I would erridicate everyone of them suckers from the planet, along with every sticking Mountain Cedar. Down with the Ash! Down with the Cedar! Long live the Sugar Maple…LOL! I think everyone just about agrees what they did broke the law. The main dispute seems to be the heavy handedness of Customs. There was no criminal intent. If i were on the federal jury, I would vote to acquit.

    1. Rod Anders says:

      If you don’t like it … just stick it up your Ash!

  3. KN says:

    I am a former Agriculture Specialist with Customs and Border Protection. I spent 6 years in that position at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. I (and most of my fellow inspectors) didn’t like to write civil penalties. It’s a lot of time-consuming paperwork. But when warranted, I’d write it without any reservations. A traveler is generally given ample opportunity to declare any food or agricultural products and also to amend his declaration. Past a certain point though and it’s get out your money because you are going to pay for your denial and/or attempt at concealment. A fine this large could also be due to being a repeat violator.

    As for us being stupid, lazy, etc…you can’t even apply for the Agriculture Specialist position without a life sciences degree. I and many of my co-workers have advanced degrees in our field. We under go 2 months of job training in the class room where the pass is an 80%, not 70 % like most every other federal job. Then it takes another year to pass probationary status. We take our jobs seriously to protect your food supply. Yes, there is also some dead wood but name me an industry where there is none.

    1. boradaxe says:

      Thank you, and thank you for your service.

  4. Charles Austin Miller says:

    Look, people, the answer is obvious. STOP TRAVELING. Remain stationary, stay where you are. Be content with your life.

  5. Morris Hudson says:

    Let’s see…

    – They KNEW that the produce was there.
    – They KNEW they were required to declare it.
    – They CHOSE not to declare it.
    – Now they object to being held liable for THEIR actions.

    The $300 fine is “fine” with me.

  6. Jeff says:

    Why people expect to have rights from a regime that tortures people is completely beyond me!!! This regime is not legitimate! It’s criminal!! If I stood up and declared that I was the king of France, people would rightly declare that I am NOT the king of France! Likewise, anyone that knows the US Constitution can easily see that this regime is NOT legitimate!!

  7. Jay Kellog says:

    The best part of this is I’m CERTAIN the veggie-loving Steinbergers are big supporters of the regulation-loving Democrat Party. As a small businessman I deal with this petty bureaucracy all the time, but when the heavy-handed regulatory arm of the Govt. comes down on “regular folk” instead of us greedy “rich, you all go whining like children. Welcome to my daily world, Steinbergers. Vote conservative or libertarian next time…

  8. Fred says:

    My wife packed a bunch of Turkish sausage in my carry on bag when I returned home from Turkey 5 weeks earlier than her. I was an inexperienced traveler. I checked yes on the form where it asked if you had meat. My wife intended that I check no, but I didn’t realize that at the time. They pulled me aside and dug through my bag and got the sausages. When I got home and unpacked, I found at least as many sausages still remaining as had been confiscated. I’m not sure what to conclude from the experience.

  9. Tom Koch says:

    Unfortunately, the discretions chosen by law enforcement falls on the side of “revenue enhancement”. I see more speed traps on highways, with the sole purpose of generating revenue.

    In this economy, any chance that the state can get money they will take it to fund their current projects. Consider it to be a new form of taxation.

    The only thing I can say is we all better “keep our noses clean”.

  10. wncchester says:

    ” But the American people need to understand that there is a very important reason for these laws. It only takes one little pest to arrive here that we don’t already have…”

    Yeah, but that customs guy didn’t think he had found a smuggler, he just wanted to show someone how important he is. Bureacrats do that by using the power of his agency by costing their victims some money. Of course, IF the family had been sufficently submissive and begged forgiveness from of him, he might have just done the right thing and toossed the food in the trash and moved on to his next victims.

  11. jack Clifford says:

    Meanwhile, an olympic team member can urinate on an 11 year girl while a plane is flying and no federal charges are made. There is no wonder that Americans think that this country is in very bad shape morally when the laws are not uniformly applied.
    http://www.nypost.com/p/news/national/damper_on_his_ski_dream_4cG10QGfehIcKqfgvA9BMP

  12. jerseyjoey says:

    Yes the poor jew who is unfairly being singled out, phaaaa please. Everyone has the same deal with customs but these people feel they where traumatized, sounds like a jew law suit to me.

  13. Joe C says:

    9/11 and the USS Cole were MUSLIMS…NOT Israeli’s….learn the difference.

  14. KEISHA says:

    NO THEY WERE NOT. THEY BROKE THE LAW!

    1. Mike Lee says:

      First, how do you, as the story states; “violate a crime..” What does that mean. Since when does it take 19 hours to get from Florida to Jersey and why where they going thru customs? This story IS NOT REAL!.

      1. Mohawk says:

        DING DING DING….

  15. RTC says:

    Welcome to the USSA people.

  16. freaky says:

    This story is misleading — the first paragraph states that a family of four from Florida was visiting family in New Jersey when they ran foul of customs. It’s almost suggesting that it’s routine to pass through customs on one’s way from Florida to New Jersey. It completely glosses over the fact that they were actually on a flight from Israel until the 5th paragraph. Israel! Yes, it was an international flight. Yes, anyone who has ever been on an international flight absolutely knows that you can’t bring produce into the country. They repeatedly announce it on the plane. There are signs when you deplane. The airlines and airport offer multiple opportunities to throw it away. Ignorance like this is how foot-and-mouth and mad-cow disease spread. Good God, people.

    1. boradaxe says:

      Duh, the story was very clear, no need for your interpretation.

      Learn to read and work on comprehension and you’ll be OK eventually.

  17. Steve Pass says:

    Unfortunately we have only been able to read one side of the story.I’m former Law Enforcement and will say the being cordial does indeed go along way. From experience the break in the Law comes from not kissing an Officers butt, just be decent in your tone.Again we only have one side.There truly is not enough information to make a call on this one. Listed above is a post from Surie’s Dad, if this is her Dad, maybe there is more to this than we have been told?????

    1. boradaxe says:

      Thank you for no longer being in Law Enforcement. You are clearly not LE material.

  18. CSI says:

    Father like daughter.

    1. Verheek says:

      Neither of you have any idea. Why would you assume a negative about a situation? I’ve been on long-haul flights too to come off and have over-the-top customs officers to deal with.

  19. Vote Loud says:

    What is the problem???
    It is just another OTI…

    Obama Tax Increase

  20. jaws says:

    First passengers on planes need to understand that flying on a plane is not a constitutional right it is a privilege and a convenience. Second, there are custom rules and regulations that have been enforced before TSA was in existence. Yes, the family made a mistake and the way the regulation is written it is up to the discretion of the custom agent. When you fly and sign the customs form you enter into an agreement. The $300 fine is not in fine print it is in the same font as the rest of the form. Sorry, this time I am not sympathetic with the family but taking the side of the Customs agent. He was in his right to do what he did. He did not abuse his power.

  21. Logical says:

    …and if you are flying from Florida to NJ you don’t go through customs and the flight isn’t 19 hours. Again, some pretty shoddy reporting.

  22. sean patriot says:

    FIRST OF ALL, WHY THE HELL IS ANYONE HAVING TO GO THROUGH CUSTOMS WHILE FLYING INSIDE THE US? THS COUNTRY IS GETTING DUMBER BY THE DAY.

  23. Logical says:

    When you are pulled over for speeding the officer has discretion to ticket you or not. Claiming that you didn’t see the speed limit sign or that you didn’t realize you were speeding are not defenses to speeding. The article does not give us the full picture of what happened and the behavior of the travelers. Personally, if I was the Customs officer and they were nice to me I’d simply destroy the fruit. If they were obnoxious I’d fine them. Whenever I get a speeding ticket I”m nice to the cop, but always fight it in court.

  24. Janie LeVine says:

    BUT they were coming from ISRAEL!
    The rules that appl to everyone else
    shouldn’t apply to THEM.

    Terrible discrimination.
    And they alone had travelled 19 hours.

    THey should’ve been given salad dressing and
    blessed all the way tothe parking lot.

  25. Matt says:

    You’re dumb

  26. Earl Lutz says:

    I missed something… they were flying from FLORIDA to NEW JERSEY — which state isn’t in the UNION anymore? Why was “custom’s” involved?

    1. sean patriot says:

      I had to read it twice myself. The solution is in very small print in the title. They did this on purpose.

  27. Mac says:

    “They were told they had violated a federal crime…” How do you violate a federal crime? Violate a federal rule… Violate a federal statute…

  28. Lannie Lee says:

    Would this be a story if they were flying from
    Afghanistan? And were Muslims?

    Or flying from the Netherlands and were English?
    And would the aforementioned
    have made a screaming case of it.

    It’s more of the same, with the travellers and the media.
    People getting sick of it.
    Shut up and travel.
    You don’t have the $300?
    YOu should never be questioned because your’re so terribly
    important?

  29. J Copper says:

    I recently returnrd from visiting China.. It was at the Los Angeles airport that I had forgotten about a sealed turkey sandwich that was given to me on the flight back. It was taken from me and put aside. in the meantine, on of the TSA agents took my passport from me and went to a nearby computer to enter some information. I suppose that they thought it might contain some kind of bacteria or even small palstic explosives. I wonder what information was entered into that computer, “Damgerous turkey sandwhich perpetrator on the loose.’
    At least I wasb’t fined.

  30. Donald R says:

    It is Tyranny, Get used to it, With Obama and his un-elected Czars the STATE will just get bigger and bigger. This will just be another attempt to separate you from your money and give it to some loser to buy steaks with their food stamp card or refill minutes on their Smart phones with cash only option.

    1. Shhh. They'll come get you, too. says:

      Because before 2009, no one EVER in the history of the United States was fined for sneaking something into the country. Yeah, it’s the Obama’s un-elected CZARS. And tyranny. Take off your tinfoil hat, dude. Bush had czars. Clinton had czars. Reagan had czars.

    2. Romane says:

      Tyranny?

      Do you suppose that this family of Jews were pleasant
      about it all?
      Were cooperative…
      or even (heaven forbid) apologetic about the mistake, if it was one?

      Since they screamed bloody murder to their pals in the media about
      this HORRID violation of their superiority,

      you can imagine how they acted in the airport?
      Would that have made a difference?

      1. Donald R says:

        I don’t think this was a religious or political issue, But take just the food away. I agree with the regulation, I am just tired of the government finding ways to fine you are attach fees to everything we do. I recently read an article were they want to enact legislation on Farmers to have a commercial drivers license to drive a tractor. This will hurt another family farm so the kids can’t help, as well as add cost since all workers on the farm will have to pay $64 each. The politicians in Washington doesn’t understand the cost of good sold. The more we charge the Farmer, the merchant, the corporation. Those costs will get passed on down to the consumer (you and me). If they truly want to help the economy, STOP THE SPENDING NOW!🙂

  31. farley says:

    Getting sick and tired ofthe

    chosen ones thinking they don’t have to follow the rules.
    Does flying from Israel for 19 hours make them special?

  32. solo_poke says:

    They ship food all over the world by the thousands of tons, but fine forgetfull people.

    The time has come to press the reset button, since all the laws are now in place to protect corporations and government as they prey on the citisens.

    The widespread political anemia in the face of corporate onslaught, is evident with every such injustice.

    Fascism is not about ovens as the fhistory books would suggest, it is much more about the marriage of government and corporations. It has been propagandized so people would not focues on the conditions which created the evil, yet if history should teach us anything is that conditions are much the same and so are poticians responses of austerity. It is almost as if they want a replay/do over so fascism can try again this time without the obvious persecution.

    Wake u

  33. Mannie says:

    That wasn’t T&A, it was Customs.

    Welcome to Amerika, the Land of the Once Free. Up against the wall, Maggot!

    1. solo_poke says:

      With conditions almost identical to the period known as the “Great Depression” and same political responses.

      The wealthy always want to subjugate people, and poverty is a real good way.

  34. DonL says:

    Totally agree with the law.
    Totally disagree with the agency not waving the fine and simply confiscating the items and destroying.
    Come on Big SIS – do the right thing will ya!

  35. Bearcat says:

    We ship vegetables all over the country anyway. It was Florida to New Jersey.

  36. Larry says:

    Spoken like a true New Yorker is has learned to be subservient to authorities and unions.

  37. custom agents are plain dumb says:

    Those custom agents should be fined for being stupid.What IQ do you need for that job.Wow post the name of custom agents this way we can embarass them the way they did this family.They could of just threw fruit in garbage.They should know not everyone is a criminal.

  38. Larry says:

    I’m more inclined to believe the feds were just being jerks. Because that’s what they seem to do best these days.

  39. Don says:

    Lucky for them it wasn’t TSA that found the vegetables, or they would have been strip searched and sexually violated.

    $300 more for the broke government…

  40. karlson says:

    This is the problem with CBS news and other media outlets. Trying to make a news story out of nothing. The fruit is considered CONTRABAND by the US Dept of Agriculture. USDA has been merged with US Customs, US Immigration and US Border Patrol into Homeland Security. The reasons for the fruit to be considered contraband have been listed here by other posters. What was done was wrong and while there is an option to confiscate the CONTRABAND, the customs officer can levy a fine. It’s no different than trying to smuggle in other contraband and not declare it.

  41. Howie says:

    6 paragraphs before the fact that it was an international flight is mentioned.
    Intentionally misleading?
    !st paragraph calls them “…a family visiting from Florida”
    Caption calls them “…a LOCAL family”
    Intentionally misleading?

    …or sloppy sensationalist “writing”?
    O.K. lets talk domestic flights:
    Yes, traveling from Hawaii to the mainland you are double inspected for produce. So what?

    1. karlson says:

      You’re right. There is sloppy writing/reporting.

  42. christine says:

    u knew the rules when u left the country…you should know them when u come in. think about it,if u cant take veggies/fruits over state lines what makes u think u can take them in from another country?? glad they got a fine for stupidity and excuses!!

    1. Christine never makes mistakes says:

      IT was a accident they could of just threw it in garbage there were kids involed.Sometimes people make mistakes this custom agent as dumb as he is was just abusing his power.

      1. Why do you appease terrorists? says:

        You have a pre-9/11 mindset. These could have been terrorist vegetables. Have you forgotten the lives lost at WTC?

  43. Howie says:

    6 paragraphs before the fact that it was an international flight is mentioned.
    Intentionally misleading?
    !st paragraph calls them “…a family visiting from Florida”
    Caption calls them “…a LOCAL family”
    Intentionally misleading?

    …or sloppy sensationalist “writing”?
    O.K. lets talk domestic flights:
    Yes, traveling from Hawaii to the mainland you are double inspected for produce. So what?

    1. Lyle says:

      Hey! Don’t hate on the reporter…after all, he did have to travel to MONSEY to get his facts.

      Newark is too far to go to get THE facts.

  44. Surfin Bird says:

    No we persecute the customs agents for doing their jobs. The fmaily should have been arrested for violating the federal crime.

    1. surfin bird needs help says:

      Well accidents do happen and family should not have been arrested you idiot.This custom agent fresh out of job at taco bell should learn that people make mistakes.And plus there were kids involed this is what happens when u try to eat healthy

      1. Mumbles says:

        I’ll bet this broad climbed on her high horse and told the customs officer just how important she was and how she would have his job, how stupid he was and yadda, yadda, yadda. Baby that may work with your hairdresser but it dosen’t work at the airport, pay up you jerk.

      2. San Diegian says:

        When we were kids we took a family vacation to the east coast including a drive into Canada.

        We had purchased a dozed apples in up-state New York and the customs official on the Canadian side side they were going to confiscate the apples.

        That made my Mom so mad she made us sit in the car on the US side and eat all the apples!

      3. Will says:

        Various countries do not have diseases and pests found in other countries and are still free of them because of their strict agricultural custom laws. Australia is an example in that it is free of rabies. Would those of you accusing the customs agent of “over-reacting” prefer that a potentially dangerous disease enter your country and endanger you or your children or pets or commercial agriculture in your home state because of another travelers “forgetfulness? Stupidity should be painful.

    2. Not a sheeple says:

      Surfin Bird & Mumbles are two jackwagon sheeple. Hopefully when the jackbooted federal agents come thru you into the FEMA camp you might remember. Anyone with half a brain (i.e. not a government employee) would realize it was a mistake and not trying to smuggle contraband into the country and thus would have thrown it away. This is the sign of a power hungry and desperate government. It oughta be interesting when it all comes tumbling down.

    3. japesmcfarland says:

      You sound like a bureaucrat LOL. People like you would have made great Nazis. …creepy leftist.

    4. jmac says:

      surfin is a good little nazi

    5. Scott says:

      Whatever became of intent?

    6. MomOfTwo says:

      The article said that the agent had the choice of tossing the stuff in the trash or being a d!ck. Guess what the government worker chose?

      1. Will the farmer says:

        With your attitude regarding our agricultural security, it is scary to know that you have reproduced; twice no less. Probably from the shallow end of the gene pool no doubt.

      2. boradaxe says:

        He chose the RIGHT option.

    7. Rosiegirl1 says:

      IF there is such a concern about diseases etc being brought into this country, wouldn’t customs be doing more at the mexican border??

  45. snapper says:

    Customs employees love to terrorize the public. When I flew in from Israel two years ago I had one box of packaged dates which were legal to import. I acknowledged on the declaration that I had the dates – suddenly I was sent to another line where my bags were roughly searched and questioned intensely about a couple of other agriculture items. I had been totally honest with my declaration and after an extra, uncalled for 30 minutes of intimidation I was allowed to leave. As my daughter said to me – you just don’t admit on the form that you have ANYTHING even if legal and customs is unlikely to hassle you. If customs would like people to voluntarily comply with its regulations it would do better not to punish people who are upfront and honest.

    1. Martha says:

      Exactly. I travel a lot and learned that long ago. I would like to obey the rules, but one is punished for it – over time, one is less hassled by declaring nothing and playing the random search lottery.

    2. Ructus says:

      You’re an idiot with your ‘love to terrorize’ comment. These people are hired, trained, and instructed to enforcement these rules. If they don’t do it, CBP will fire them and hire someone who will. Just follow the rules and you’ll be fine. Don’t and you’ll be fined.

      1. James says:

        Have you ever gone through customs?? I get hassled almost every time, never fined or had anything confiscated, but I have been consistently amazed at how extremely unwelcome I am made to feel returning to my own country. They ought to have a sign “Welcome to America, $(*# YOU!”.

    3. David says:

      Really? So a 100 pound person = $20,000 fuel? How do airlines make any money at all?

    4. Todd says:

      Mark, you DO comprehend that the weight of your luggage is calculated in to both the amount of fuel the plane needs and the cost of your ticket right? You DO comprehend that, right? I mean, really? REALLY??? And guess what? If you carry more luggage than the ticket covers…you PAY for that as well, the weight of which is calculated into the fuel need to safely make the flight. MAYBE YOU DON’T GET A FEW CONCEPTS? Eh?

    5. Ron Hyatt says:

      Go ahead and show your ass. When you’re in Customs, you’re in no-man’s-land and they can do pretty much what they want.

    6. jk says:

      Dumbest comment I have ever seen.

    7. Bobby says:

      I cannot think of anything to say to Mark Noreng, but “What an IDIOT.” I hope that you did not use your real name, because I could never show my face again if I said something so stupid.

    8. Chris says:

      Mark you are the one that does not understand the concept….your numbers are more or less indicative of fuel costs over the course of a year. Idiot.

    9. ustserv says:

      Mark – You must be referring to the cost to fly with Obama on AF1!

    10. boradaxe says:

      You can not be a real person, unless you are an idiot, not sure which.

  46. dontpokeagrizzly says:

    Thanks, TSA, for weighing in on the subject. You do such great work ensuring no one enjoys their air travel. Kudos.

    PS–if you are going to do your viral spamming here, try to stick to a single name, Rachel Leah…I mean JJ…I mean… (You are pathetic.)

  47. Demsvoteblindly says:

    Where you there at this particular time there Jon???? Can you say for 100% that if you follow them that they work with you??? So you’re saying that they let them go, then later heard they were talking to the media and then gave them the ticket hours or days later??? You act like this is a tv show where they sat down and did an interview as they were sitting there with customs. Fool.. THEY work for US!!!!! It’s called having unskilled people in the wrong positions. I hope you get it next Jon and we will say that you should have done what they said cause they would never do anything to you even if it was just a mistake Jon.

    1. LarryDavid says:

      A jewish family from Florida, Israel and Jersey, I think we know the “attitude” was given.

    2. jack says:

      Demsvoteblindly
      you are an idiot. stop being a damn fool.

    3. Jon E. Blaize says:

      Actually, yes with a 100% conviction I can say that they work with you if you don’t give them attitude. I’ve had plenty of things confiscated, but never fined. Why? Likely because I realized they were doing their job and I was in the wrong. I apologized. Didn’t make a big deal about it and moved on. I’ve seen many people that have been in the same boat give attitude and they are still dealing with the customs agents when I leave the area.
      A $300 fine seems excessive, but it could have been worse. Not sure how many times you’ve found yourself in that position, but I at the very least was speaking from experience instead of emotion.
      Yes, they work for us. Us, meaning the rest of the travelers and people in the country. Bringing food in from other parts of the world can be a problem. You ever drive to California? You get stopped at the border and they check you for fruits and vegetables. Customs agents deal with thousands of travelers on a daily basis. They have to follow specific guidelines. You break them, it’s your problem. Not theirs.

  48. Leonard Mayer says:

    I think that these actions that would be considered of minor significance should be reminded or forewarned in a video on the plane before filling out the customs form. This family regarded the inclusion of fruits for children as not important Yet the TSA regards it as significant. All instances where TSA found people doing what would be an oversight should be brought to the attention to all travelers. Unless you do this, then this is more like a form of entrapment. All travelers should also be warned about these oversights before boarding plane. They should also be given written notification about possible oversights when they purchase their airline tickets. This is the only way to make sure the public gets a fair shake and not get entrapped.

    1. eric says:

      not sure if you are a troll or what but the TSA is not customs

    2. Jared Franklin says:

      This wasn’t a TSA issue, it was a customs issue. Big difference. RTFA.

      1. Martha says:

        Not really – TSA routinely rats out the passengers to Customs .. so they are now one and the same.

      2. jbmw says:

        Martha, you are an idiot. seriously.

    3. PolitiPorn says:

      Customs & TSA are not the same as has been pointed out by other folks here. You may also want to look up the legal definition of entrapment as you’ve missed the mark on that as well. Rules are rules and I’m appalled that these twits think that they should not be subject to them. Their whining over a $300 fine only leads me to believe that they put up such a fuss upon discovery of the vegetables that the Customs Agent decided to fine them instead of merely destroying the geggies.

      1. Kristen says:

        Exactly.

    4. JWood says:

      It’s not TSA. It’s the Department of Agriculture. You know, the folks that pay farmers to not grow corn. The line would move faster if it wasn’t for the obliviots.

    5. Jessica L says:

      Wow, you really think people need to have their hand held like that? Get a grip.

  49. Fed Up says:

    Ok, first she didn’t have enough to think she was intentionally smuggling. But the American people need to understand that there is a very important reason for these laws. It only takes one little pest to arrive here that we don’t already have and then our agricultural integrety will be comprimised and even could be destroyed. If something comes in with no pretetors here it will take ove and destroy our crops and then we will be very hungrya and left at the mercy of others to survive. Come on people these laws have been around forever. I remember 30 years ago returning friom Europe and having to go through and list what i was bringing back. Grow up you didn’t follow the rules whether accidently or because you were ignorant or just not paying attention bottom line is you should make yourself aware of things likie this so it is you r fault pay up and be glad they didn’t throw you in jail.

    1. Anthony Sood says:

      Yes they violated the law, and we need those laws to protect our food supply. But there is no reason for the heavy handedness by Customs. They do have the option of destroying the stuff, and that is they only thing they should have done. Destroy it and maybe give a warning. Now if it was pot or some other illegal drug, then yes, more is warranted. These were just fruits and veggies. They got much more than they deserved. Then again, maybe this is the way Customs funds itself each year….hmmmm.

      1. Mike Lee says:

        No, you did not read the story, they violated a federal crime… no where does it say the violated federal law…. and they call me dumb…

      2. Kishmet says:

        Mike, apparently they call you dumb because you *are* dumb. It’s impossible to violate a crime, state or federal – you violate a law and in so doing commit a crime.

      3. Jessica L says:

        They sound all sweet and victimized in the video, but I wonder how they were reacting when they were in front of customs. Probably full of attitude and arrogance….I mean ignorance.

      4. Shlomo says:

        They could have been fined ten thousand dollars per item.

        It seems perfectly reasonable, they brought in prohibited fruits and vegetables, and failed to make a proper written or oral declaration. They could have been jailed.

        These people are self important whiners.

    2. kurt says:

      So now we don’t have to worry about the potential bomber on the plane, screaming kids, the fatty sitting next to you. You have to worry about some stupid vegetables that customs might hammer you for. This is ridiculous. I understand completely the danger of moving anything organic even over state lines. But this customs official should have taken and destroyed them, plain and simple. Besides, Try to do anything with kids at a airport….it is a nightmare.

    3. LTCB says:

      Get real. The pests don’t need a visa. They come here EVERY DAY by the tons because we have fairly loose trade with foreign countries. The customs people are truly already stretched too thin. The only REAL way to stop importing “bugs” is to completely disinfect EVERY surface of EVERY item that comes here and poison EVERY form of vermin. The only way to make that sure is to do it at BOTH ends of the water. Arrival is too late for most pests. They can ride the passengers’ feet and no one does a biological decontamination of passengers or cargo. So don’t tell me this little enforcement action actually provides the nation ANY value or protection.

  50. hbo says:

    I was fined $200 just for an apple that i brought from hong kong

    1. Mike Notsaying says:

      TAKE IT TO JURY TRIAL IT COSTS 40000 TO ASSEMBLE A TRIAL DONT LET THEM DROP THE CHARGES!!

    2. Bobby says:

      This is a good lesson in life for you. If you take food on the plane to eat because you are too cheap to buy the inflight meal, then EAT YOUR FOOD ON THE PLANE. How many bottled drinks have you had to dump because you bought them just before going through the carry-on bag inspection?

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