Feds: Connecticut Man Smuggled Birds Into Country For Singing Competitions
This might actually be the first time you've ever heard of a story like this. Authorities say a man from Connecticut got busted with 34 live finches concealed in hair rollers.
It happened Sunday, June 16 at JFK Airport. 39-year-old Francis Gurahoo of East Hartford was arrested for allegedly smuggling 34 finches and that the rare birds were reportedly stuffed inside hair rollers -- the kind you would find on a "Nick at Night" TV show (pictured above).
Research done by the U.S. Attorneys office suggests that the smuggled finches are used in "Idol" style singing competitions in Brooklyn and Queens. The finches reportedly sing, bets are placed and a judge selects the bird believed to have the best voice. A finch who often wins these competitions gains value and then can reportedly sell in excess of $5,000.
So why smuggle the finches in since we have so many singing birds who are indigenous to the region? Apparently, these finches, who are native to Guyana, have a better singing voice than your typical finch off the street. According to authorities, Gurahoo told prosecutors that he planned to sell the finches on the black market for up to $3,000 each. That's definitely a higher going-rate than most of the human singers get around here.
Gurahoo appeared in court on Monday represented by Attorney Eric Pack. He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.
Believe it or not, this is not the first time this has happened. Back at the end of 2018, U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported that they arrested another passenger from Guyana with 70 finches also stuffed into hair rollers.
Federal authorities gave no indication as to whether or not any exotic birds will appear on the next season of The Voice or American Idol.