Monday, November 29, 2010
SAN DIEGO Handmade Mexican wreaths and a Mexican fruit punch will get confiscated at the border if you decide to do some holiday shopping in Mexico. U.S. Customs and Border Protection is warning cross-border travelers to be careful of what they buy.
Officials say cross-border travel goes up significantly during the holiday season because people take advantage of duty-free shops and low prices in Mexico. Others visit family and friends.
But customs officials say they’re on-guard to inspect gifts coming into the U.S. They're specifically on the lookout for hand-crafted Mexican wreaths and other holiday decorations. Officials say many of those gifts are made with hay or straw that might carry insects or diseases.
A traditional Mexican fruit punch called ponche – a drink that’s quite popular this time of year along the Southwest border – will also be confiscated. The drink is made with guavas, Hawthorne apples, and sugar cane -- all of which are banned from the U.S.
As always, any kind of meats, fruits and vegetables could also be confiscated. Any gifts bought from duty-free shops have to be declared.
Officials are asking travelers to leave their gifts unwrapped. They remind travelers that they can search their cars and belongings without a warrant.