Be careful what you transport to other territories.
As the Brittney Griner story has shown, one must take great care with what is carried onto a plane. The Houston-born WNBA player was recently sentenced to nine years in a Russian prison for what she toted into the country.
Her condemned contraband: mere medicinal cannabis.
Of course, there are other airborne ways of landing into trouble — like taking an onboard bazooka to Bolivia, a torpedo to Taiwan, a missile to Mongolia, or more than 3.4 ounces of body spray to Springfield.
Apropos of profound airplane-related infringement, an occurrence in Australia is making international news.
In late July, a passenger returned from Bali, Indonesia. Shortly after touching down at the Darwin International Airport, the traveler’s trip went to the dogs.
Canines at designated Down-Under airports are trained to sense illegal substances. One such animal — named Zinta — detected something illicit.
From the Australian agricultural ministry’s website on August 1st:
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Murray Watt said Zinta sniffed out the significant biosecurity breach…and the returning passenger has been issued with [an infringement] notice.
Murray commended the mutt:
“Zinta was placed at Darwin Airport as part of the…tough new biosecurity defences, and it’s excellent to see she is already contributing to keeping the country safe.”
The violator was hit with a hefty fine — $2,664 Aussie dollars.
The sinister substance had been bootlegged by way of a backpack. And its discovery was downright delicious:
[Z]inta responded to a passenger’s backpack, and after further inspection, it was found they were carrying a variety of risk items including two egg and beef sausage McMuffins from McDonalds in Bali and a ham croissant.
At issue: “foot and mouth disease.” As explained by The Associated Press, FMD is “caused by a virus that infects cattle, sheep, goats, swine and other cloven-hoofed animals. While death rates are typically low, the disease can make animals ill with fever, decreased appetite, excessive drooling, blisters and other symptoms.”
Bali has reported cases while Australia remains FMD-free.
ABC News notes that the airport incident involved an error of omission:
Australia has strict policies on the importation of food products in its effort to keep [FMD] out of the country. The passenger received the…fine after failing to disclose that they had the meat products.
Murray remarked on jokes:
“Biosecurity is no joke — it helps protect jobs, our farms, food and supports the economy. Passengers who choose to travel need to make sure they are fulfilling the conditions to enter Australia, by following all biosecurity measures.”
And make no mistake — he’s unsympathetic:
“This will be the most expensive [McDonald’s] meal this passenger ever has, this fine is twice the cost of an airfare to Bali, but I have no sympathy for people who choose to disobey Australia’s strict biosecurity measures, and recent detections show you will be caught.”
In July, the Albanese Government launched a $14 million biosecurity effort to address threats in malls and at airports. Cairns and Darwin ports of entry saw the addition of sanitation foot mats. Also employed: dogs.
Converted to American dollars, the breakfast-phobic fine totals $1,844.59. In the delinquent’s defense, McMuffins taste magnificent.
However, freshly offered in Darwin — according to the menu for McDonald’s Australia: McMuffins.
So perhaps importation was overkill.
The fine may seem excessive, but this is Australia; as illustrated during last year’s COVID lockdowns, the government diligently looks out for its citizens (Language Warning):
— Wong Do Mein (@w0ng_d0_Me1n) July 24, 2021
Back to Darwin — a word often associated with evolution — per ABC, the sniffed-out smuggler also harbored hotcakes.
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