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Woman fined $500 by Customs over Delta airline apple

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NEW YORK — An airline passenger said she’s facing a $500 fine from U.S. Customs and Border Patrol after she saved a free apple she received from Delta on her way home from Paris.

Crystal Tadlock said towards the end of her flight from Paris, flight attendants passed out apples in plastic bags. She wasn’t hungry at the time so she threw the snack in her bag and planned to eat it during the second leg of her trip back to Denver.

Tadlock said when she went through Customs, her bag was randomly searched. She said the Customs agent pulled out the apple in the plastic bag with Delta’s logo on it. Tadlock explained she’s just received the snack from the airline and asked if she could throw it out or eat it. She said the agent said no, and handed her a $500 fine for the apple instead.

“He had asked me if my trip to France was expensive and I said, ‘yeah.’ I didn’t really get why he was asking that question, and then he said ‘It’s about to get a lot more expensive after I charge you $500,'” said Tadlock.

Tadlock said she’s frustrated that an innocent mistake could amount to a $500 and the loss of her Global Entry Status. Tadlock said Delta shouldn’t have passed out apples to customers or at least reminded passengers not to take the fruit off the plane. She also said she’s frustrated that Customs would ticket her when the agent clearly saw the snack came from an airline.

A spokesperson for U.S. Customs and Border Patrol said in a statement, “Privacy policy prohibits CBP from discussing the details of any individuals specific inspection, however all agriculture items must be declared.”

Tadlock can either pay the $500 or fight the charge in court. Right now, she said she plans to fight the ticket in front of a judge.