Bird-brained Guyanese caught at JFK Airport with birds

THE TRADEWINDS – Civilization

Bird-brained Guyanese caught at JFK Airport with birds

Wednesday, 27 June 2012 – (Demerara Waves)

(NEW YORK DAILY NEWS).-A GUYANESE man was nabbed at Kennedy Airport with something singing up his sleeve — nine live finches bound for their shot at stardom.

Marlon Hariram is the latest bird-brained smuggler trying to evade Guyana’s laws prohibiting the exportation of the little songbirds. Authorities said the finches were likely going to be used in singing contests held in public parks in Queens.

“Two finches sing, and a judge selects the bird determined to have the best voice,” U.S. Fish and Wildlife Special Agent Ryan Bessey explained in court papers released Monday.          

“A finch who wins many competitions becomes quite valuable, and can sell in excess of $5,000,” he added.

Finches with a pedigree from Guyana supposedly sing better than their American counterparts and are “more highly sought after,” Bessey said.
Hariram, 30, was pinched this week with the finches during a routine examination by Customs and Border Protection agents. The bird man had flown to New York on an Easy Jet flight from Georgetown — Guyana’s capital and largest city.

He checked the “No” box on a form indicating that he was not bringing any animals or wildlife into the country, but that claim quickly unraveled when the officer found the birds tucked in the flier’s shirt sleeve.

The birds were each packaged in cardboard toilet paper rolls, covered with netting and packaging tape, according to the complaint.

The agent noted in the complaint that Hariram has been fined previously in 2005 and 2011 for smuggling live finches into the U.S. Not allowed to fly the coop, Hariram is scheduled for a bail hearing on Wednesday.

The Wild Birds Protection Act of Guyana is enforced, in part, to require the quarantine of birds from foreign countries to prevent the spread of potentially deadly diseases.

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