BOSTON – Customs agents detained state Treasurer Tim Cahill and his family at Logan International Airport after one of his daughters was caught carrying contraband back from Italy — three peaches.
Cahill said his teenage daughter was carrying the peaches for the nine-hour flight home, but he didn't know she had the fruit and didn't declare it.
Cahill said he and his family were treated "like criminals" after the peaches were discovered. He said customs agents told him he had to pay a $300 fine and would spend the night in jail if he didn't, but wasn't told about his right to appeal.
"It felt like we were being interrogated and found guilty without any process, no explanation, no rundown of our rights," Cahill said.
Cahill didn't tell the agents he was an elected official, and was reluctant to speak about the incident until speaking last week to lawmakers and tourism industry representatives about the difficulties overseas travelers have faced entering the U.S. since the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
"I do respect the difficult role that Homeland Security has," Cahill said. "It's a balancing act. Unfortunately in my case, the balance was not struck very well. As a citizen who cares about security, I think that the time needs to be spent better and maybe on less serious issues than peaches.
A Customs spokesman had no comment on the incident.