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Musician says customs agents destroyed 11 flutes

Jan. 2, 2014 at 1:13 PM   |   Comments

NEW YORK, Jan. 2 (UPI) -- A musician says U.S. customs agents destroyed 11 of his flutes but a customs official says agents destroyed only "fresh green bamboo canes."

Boujemaa Razgui, a flautist based in New York, told ArtsJournal.com the agents destroyed 11 handmade nays -- flutes made from agricultural products -- along with materials to make new nays, when he arrived at John F. Kennedy International Airport on a flight from Madrid Dec. 22.

The publication said Razgui is a virtuoso who performs with many U.S. music ensembles and is a regular guest performer with the Boston Camerata.

A Customs and Border Patrol spokesman said in a statement Razgui's luggage contained no instruments, only bamboo.

"CBP Agriculture Specialists at John F. Kennedy International Airport discovered fresh green bamboo canes approximately three to four feet long inside of unclaimed baggage arriving on a flight from Madrid, Spain on Sunday, December 22, 2013," the statement said. "Fresh bamboo is prohibited from entering the United States to prevent the introduction of exotic plant pathogens. The fresh bamboo canes were seized and destroyed in accordance with established protocols to prevent the introduction of plant pathogens into the United States."

Razgui said in an email to ArtsJournal.com the flutes were his "huge art connection with North America and Europe, through churches, synagogues (all of them in Montreal and almost all in Toronto), universities, colleges, theaters, com.centers , mosques, all kind of ceremonies , marriages, helulas, barMetzvahs, you name it."

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