Customs officials explain why they destroyed musician's prized flutes

Thursday afternoon, U.S. customs officials responded to its employees' destruction of 11 rare flutes belonging to Boujemaa Razgui.


Last week, Customs officials destroyed the rare flute collection of the Canadian prodigy, claiming that they were "agricultural products." Today, a Customs spokesperson told Foreign Policy that the officials were correct to destroy the instruments, as they could have been carrying "exotic plant pathogens."

"CBP is responsible for detecting and preventing the entry into the country of plant pests and exotic foreign animal diseases that could harm America's agricultural resources," the spokesman said.

"The fresh bamboo canes were seized and destroyed in accordance with established protocols to prevent the introduction of plant pathogens into the United States," he continued.

The spokesman also revealed that Razgui wasn't consulted before his instruments were destroyed. The Customs spokesman said that Razgui's luggage was unclaimed, an assertion Razgui refutes.

The flutes were prized possessions, and only 15 people in North America have similar ones. "And now they’re gone. I'm not sure what to do," Razgui told The Boston Globe.

"This is my life. This is horrible."

[Image via Customs and Border Patrol's official Flickr account]