MIAMI (AP) - Amid the peak Valentine's Day flower season, U.S. agents in Miami are working overtime to make sure pretty love bouquets are not used as transportation by exotic South American pests or cocaine traffickers.
More than eight out of every 10 cut flowers imported to the U.S. come through Miami International Airport. Customs and Border Protection officials on Thursday were checking thousands of boxes of roses, carnations and other varieties for insects that could damage American agriculture. Officials find around 90 such pests every day.
Colombia and Ecuador are the main sources of imported flowers, with Colombia also a leading cocaine producer. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials are using X-rays and metal probes to check for drug shipments.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)