When Dolly Parton arrived at Miami International Airport from Ecuador on Thursday, a federal agent grabbed her by the stems, flipped her upside down, and smacked her against the side of a cardboard box.
Shocking abuse of the enhanced pat-down on a Nashville singing legend?
Actually, it was U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agricultural Specialist Carlos Quintana just doing his job, which is looking for bugs in cut flowers during the pre-Valentine's Day rush.
The Dolly Parton in question is a variety of hypericum, an ornamental plant that florists use as filler in arrangements -- not surprisingly, clusters of plump, reddish berries.
Along with roses, chrysanthemums, delphinium, baby's breath, asters, agapanthus, tulips and other blooms from abroad, they arrive by the ton every day at MIA, which handles more foreign flowers than any airport in the country.
Jan. 1-Feb. 14 is high season, increasing the chances that potentially destructive pests have hitched a ride among the flora from grower countries like Colombia, Ecuador, Thailand and Holland.
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