Customs officers working at Los Angeles International Airport intercepted and seized a variety of unusual animal products from parcels and luggage over four days earlier this month.
The products included 387 snake, lizard and crocodile skin handbags, which were declared by a passenger arriving from Nigeria, Africa at LAX on May 6, U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman Lee Harty said. The purses were made of prohibited reptile and protected animal skins, including 98 of African rock pythons, 19 of monitor lizards, 85 of dwarf crocodiles as well as 179 of cobras and six of puff adder snakes, Harty said.
The items were found during a baggage inspection of a 31-year-old male passenger.
Three days later, customs officers discovered nearly half a pound of elephant meat, an endangered CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species)-protected wildlife species, that arrived from Thailand and was destined for Fresno, Harty said.
The following day, CBP officers found a prohibited dead primate at the International Mail Facility that was declared as a gift and addressed to North Port, Fla., according to CBP.
All items were seized by CBP officers and turned over to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
“CBP enforces over 400 laws of 40 different agencies such as FWS. We intercept and seize a multitude of remarkable items,” said Todd C. Owen, CBP director of field operations in Los Angeles.