SANTA TERESA, N.M. (AP) - Federal customs agents say they will step up searches for banned flowers meant for Valentine's Day being smuggled into the U.S. from Mexico.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection said this week that agriculture specialists will be stationed at El Paso ports of entry to inspect flowers and plants being brought over the border.
Live plants, seeds and bulbs are also not allowed entry into the United States without special permits and phytosanitary certificates.
The most commonly prohibited flowers and plant foliage are chrysanthemums and choisya. Officials say these items are not allowed to enter the U.S. from Mexico because they are known to harbor harmful pests and disease.
Some floral bouquets and arrangements purchased in Mexico will use flowers and greenery for filler that are prohibited in the U.S.
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