Arvada woman trying to stomach $500 fine for free airline snack, files complaint with customs

ARVADA, Colo. -- An Arvada woman said she's facing a $500 fine from U.S. Customs and Border Patrol after she saved a free apple she received from an airline on her way home from Paris.

Crystal Tadlock said toward the end of her 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 said she had 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 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,'" Tadlock said.

Tadlock said she's frustrated that an innocent mistake could amount to a large fine 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.

"It’s really unfortunate someone has to go through that and be treated like a criminal over a piece of fruit," Tadlock said.

"We encourage our customers to follow U.S. Customs and Border Protection protocols," a Delta spokesman said.

"Privacy policy prohibits CBP from discussing the details of any individuals specific inspection, however all agriculture items must be declared," U.S. Customs and Border Control said in a statement.

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

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