Man arrested at JFK Airport after 34 live birds in hair curlers found in case

Francis Gurahoo had the birds hidden in his hand luggage when he was pulled over by customs officials at JFK Airport on Sunday.

The 39-year-old was planning to sell the animals to be used in lucrative bird-singing competitions in New York City.

Court documents state Gurahoo, of Connecticut, admitted “he had intended to smuggle the birds inside of his carry-on luggage” to be sold for approximately $3,000 each (£2,400) – a total of around $102,000 (£81,500).

Guyanese finches, which are said the have better signing voices than their US relatives, are used for bird-singing competitions in Brooklyn and Queens.

“In such contests, often conducted in public areas like parks, two finches sing and a judge selects the bird determined to have the best voice,” court documents said.

A bird’s value can rise to around $5,000 (£4,000) if it is crowned a champion.

US Customs and Border Protection said it seized approximately 200 finches in airports across the US in 2018.

In December, a passenger was arrested flying into New York from Guyana with 70 live birds in a carry-on bag, also hidden inside hair rollers.

2019-07-02T20:00:13+01:00By |

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