A Guyanese man was arrested at New York City’s JFK airport Monday allegedly attempting to smuggle nearly three dozen birds into the U.S. Kevin McKenzie had squirreled away “approximately thirty-five (35) finches” for illegal import, according to a complaint filed against him in New York federal court. Flying from Georgetown, Guyana to New York via JetBlue, McKenzie stuffed each bird into a hair curler and tucked those into his suit jacket and socks, the complaint reads. He told authorities he would have been paid $3,000 for the job, $500 up front and $2,500 upon delivery. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the import of finches can be big business: The prizes for finch singing contests in parks in Brooklyn and Queens can run up to $10,000, and there’s a healthy secondary betting market. Guyanese finches, thought to have the clearest voices, can fetch a hefty price.
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