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Kevin Andre McKenzie, a 36-year-old Guyanese resident, has been arrested and charged with allegedly smuggling 35 live finches in hair curlers from Guyana for “singing contests” in New York City. According to the complaint, McKenzie flew to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York on Monday, where Customs and Border Protection officers pulled him aside for an examination and found the birds. He was charged with unlawfully importing the finches.
Photographs show the tiny finches were stuffed inside hair rollers sealed with perforated netting. Authorities said they were attached to the inside of McKenzie’s jacket and the top of his shoes. The investigation found that these types of birds are often entered into “singing contests” in the Brooklyn and Queens neighborhoods of New York.
Besides a valid import permit, birds are required to quarantine for 30 days to prevent the spread of contagious diseases, according to government regulations.
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