Another Guyanese man caught at JFK smuggling finches

Another Guyanese man caught at JFK smuggling finches”

Francis Gurahoo, 39, of East Hartford, Connecticut, was arrested on Sunday, June 16, at John F. Kennedy International Airport with the finches stashed inside plastic hair curlers, said John Marzulli, public information officer for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of NY.

According to the complaint, finches are used in singing contests in Brooklyn and Queens and gamblers bet on which finch they think has the better voice. The act was part of a larger scheme to sell the finches for profit on a Brooklyn and Queens bird-singing circuit.

"They bet on how many times the finches will chirp in a minute, which finch chirps the most", Anthony Bucci, a spokesman for United States Customs and Border Protection in NY, told the Times. "Many who attend the singing contests wager on the birds".

Court documents state Gurahoo admitted "that he had meant to smuggle the birds inside of his carry-on luggage" to be sold for approximately $3,000 each, which would earn him about $102,000 total.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection nabbed a passenger attempting to smuggling 34 singing finches, each concealed inside a plastic hair curler, inside his carry-on bag.

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When a bird becomes a champion, its value can spike to over $5,000, prosecutors said. Just like Gurahoo, the pair's scheme was discovered when they were chosen for random inspection by customs officials.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials told the Times that the agency had caught almost 200 finches at airports in 2018 alone.

The Times reported that the birds are often hidden in hair curlers, like Gurahoo's, but have also been found in toilet paper rolls or stuffed into socks.

According to the New York Post, Gurahoo was arraigned Monday and charged with unlawful wildlife smuggling following his Sunday arrest.

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