U.S. customs destroy popular musician Boujemaa Razgui’s bamboo flutes
Razgui’s precious instruments were taken for their potential ‘hazardous’
Canadian Musician Boujemaa Razgui’s holiday hit a sour note after discovering U.S. customs officials had destroyed 11 extremely rare bamboo flutes that were traveling with him, the Foreign Policy reported.
The officials, categorizing the seemingly harmless instruments as potentially hazardous agricultural products, tossed the flutes claiming they could introduce ‘exotic plant pathogens’ into the United States.
Agonized over the turn of events, Razgui said there are only 15 people in the United States with similar flutes, making the possibility of getting his hands on the scare instruments before his performances in February slim to none.
“They said this is an agriculture item,” Razgui continued. “I fly with them in and out all the time and this is the first time there has been a problem. This is my life ... This is horrible.”
The Canadian musician was flying home via New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.
The agency that deemed the instruments as hazardous are not apologizing for the actions of its employees. While neither the blog the story was first released on nor the Boston based newspaper The Globe have received a response from U.S. customs regarding the incident, a CBP official told Foreign Policy that employees followed standard protocol.
“CBP is responsible for detecting and preventing the entry into the country of plant pests and exotic foreign animal diseases that could harm America’s agricultural resources,” said an official, after being asked if the agency would issue an apology.
“The fresh bamboo canes were seized and destroyed in accordance with established protocols to prevent the introduction of plant pathogens into the United States.”
The official added that “fresh bamboo is prohibited from entering the United States.”