Fact Check

Man arrested with snails, prekese at JFK Airport an American, not Ghanaian

Claim: Some news reports claim a Ghanaian has been arrested at JFK Airport for carrying 22 giant African snails considered a dangerous species in the US and other prohibited food items.  

Officials at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection have confirmed to Dubawa Ghana that the detainee was not a Ghanaian but an American citizen who was only returning from Ghana. 

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Many news portals on Monday, April 12, 2021, reported the arrest of a man at the John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York, with 22 giant African snails and other prohibited foodstuff. 

While some of the reports such as Myjoyonline and Graphic Online stated that the arrested individual is an American, reports by Yen.com.gh, Atinkanews and GhAfricnews said the arrested individual is a Ghanaian. 



A search on the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) of the Department of Homeland Security’s website showed that they issued a formal statement on the arrest on April 6, 2021. 

In the statement, the CBP described the detainee as a “U.S. man who arrived on a flight from Ghana.”

Anthony Bucci, a spokesperson of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, in an email response to our inquiry for clarity on the nationality of the detainee, also confirmed that the detainee is a US citizen and not a Ghanaian as claimed. 

He added that the detainee has since been released after declaring all of the items. 

“He is a US citizen and he was released since he declared all of the food/agriculture items,” Anthony Bucci said in the email. 


The traveller arrested at the John F. Kennedy Airport in the US for carrying 22 giant African snails, oxtail, dried beef, turkey berry, carrot, medicinal leaves and prekese is an American citizen and not a Ghanaian. He only arrived in the US on a flight from Ghana. 

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