SAN LUIS, AZ - Two live parrots were found hidden inside an Elmo doll by agents when a California couple tried to enter the U.S. in San Luis, Ariz.
According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, a couple underwent an intensive agriculture inspection on July 1 when agriculture specialists first found a bag of mangos that had seeds intact. Another specialist then took an x-ray of a red Elmo doll where an "anomaly" was found inside. The doll was cut open and two live parrots were found inside.
The birds and fruit were seized by border agents.
Officials said the mangos were destroyed on site.
The birds were placed in a quarantine isolation crate and transferred to a USDA-Veterinary Services bird holding facility.
According to border officials, all imported birds, except from Canada, must be in quarantine for 30 days with proper documentation of its health. Birds may also be subject to health regulations by the U.S. Department of Interior, Fish and Wildlife Services. Officials said birds are regulated because they can carry bacterial and viral diseases.
The couple was fined $300, which according to officials they agreed to pay by mail. They were both released.