When you think about Guyana, that lovely country in South America with a strong hint of Caribbean culture, you probably can almost hear the waves of the Atlantic ocean, green trees and birds singing. For Francis Gurahoo, a 39 year old man coming back from Guyana, the part with the bird singing was more accentuated, as he was arrested at JFK airport when his hand luggage was found to contain no less than 34 finches, fitted in plastic hair curles.
His statement was that he was planning to sell the finches for bird-singing contests, in New York. The price for a little finch goes up to $3000, summing up to a total of around $102,000 (and that only for birds that are not champions yet). They are used in public contests usually, where two finches perform and a judge declares the one with the best voice.
Finches are small to medium birds, often being very colorful in plumage. Even if they can be found on almost all the globe, Americas, Eurasia and Africa, for the Americas parts at least, it is well known that finches from Guyana have better singing voices than the ones from the US, which makes them more appealing and clearly more expensive.
According to US laws, the punishment for smuggling (animals included) is a fine established by the court or even prison up to 20 years, or both. Whichever may be the case for Francis Gurahoo, we can be sure that he will lose his voice when he will find out.