Borderland residents hunt for cheaper eggs in Juarez; face fines if smuggled into U.S.
JUAREZ, Chihuahua (KVIA) -- High egg prices in El Paso have some crossing to Juarez in search of lower prices.
Since the end of 2022, when the rise in cases of bird flu started, egg prices have been escalating significantly. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), more than 43 million chickens had to be culled due to the virus in the last months of 2022.
Buying a dozen eggs in Juarez can cost residents around $2.50. In El Paso that same dozens can cost $5.30, more than double the price.
This price difference has prompted local residents to smuggle eggs from Juarez to El Paso.
According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the El Paso Field office saw a 92 percent increase in a calendar year comparison.
"Generally, the items are being declared during the primary inspection, and when that happens the person can abandon the product without consequence," said CBP spokesman Roger Maier.
"CBP agriculture specialists will collect and then destroy the eggs (and other prohibited food/ag products) as is the routine course of action," he added.
Customs and Border Protection officers have recently seen a small number of cases where the eggs were not declared.
CBP officers then found them during an inspection, then what happens is that the eggs are seized and the person who crossed them is assessed a $300 civil penalty or fine.
Penalties can be higher for repeat offenders or commercial-size imports.
ABC-7 spoke with some local egg distributors in Juarez and said that they'd seen an increase in deliveries in the last few weeks.
The demand to buy eggs in Juarez continues to rise, and this leads egg distributors to deliver more commodities to local grocery stores like S-Mart, Walmart, or Soriana.