Delta traveler hit with $500 fine after U.S. Customs finds apple in carry-on luggage

(KDVR/CNN) - A Colorado woman says the U.S. Customs and Border patrol wants to fine her $500 for a free apple.

She received the fruit from an airline on her way home from Paris.

"The violation is for one apple," said Crystal Tadlock, who is facing the fine.

Tadlock's healthy snack turned into a tough reality to stomach.

"It's really unfortunate someone has to go through that and be treated like a criminal over a piece of fruit," said Tadlock.

She said a Delta flight attendant handed her an apple toward the end of her flight from Paris.

"I wasn't hungry at the time, so I jammed it in my carry-on," said Tadlock.

When she went through customs, Tadlock said her bag was randomly searched.

A customs agent pulled out the apple in the Delta plastic pouch.

"He had asked me if my trip to France was expensive. And I said, 'Yeah.' I didn't really get why he was asking that question. And then he said, 'It's about to get a lot more expensive after I charge you $500," said Tadlock.

Tadlock says she's frustrated. She says delta shouldn't have handed out apples or at least warned passengers not to take them off the plane. She says U.S. customs clearly saw this apple came from an airline.

"I understand the laws and the Department of Agriculture doesn't want certain insects in the US. But once again, the apple is from Delta, and I think that's the most important part of this story," said Tadlock.

Delta said in a statement, "We encourage our customers to follow U.S. Customs and Border Protection protocols."

A spokesperson for U.S. Customs and Border Patrol said: "Privacy policy prohibits U.S. Customs and Border Patrol from discussing the details of any individuals specific inspection, however all agriculture items must be declared."

Tadlock said the whole situation is tough to swallow.

Courtesy KDVR via CNN Newsource