A Connecticut man was arrested Sunday at John F. Kennedy International Airport after he was allegedly caught trying to smuggle 33 birds inside plastic hair curlers into the United States from Guyana, according to news reports.
Francis Guarahoo, 39, was arrested after the finches from Guyana were found in his carry-on luggage, WABC reported.
Guarahoo told federal prosecutors he planned to sell the birds for $3,000 each, hoping for a profit of $100,000, CNN reported.
The Guyanese finches are used in singing contests in Brooklyn and Queens and prosecutors said a winning bird can sell for as much as $5,000. The New York Times, citing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, reported that a male finch with a winning track record and good pedigree could sell for $10,000.
In 2018, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents caught smugglers trying to bring more than 200 finches into the country.