Passenger Packed Escargot in Suitcase
ATLANTA – A slow and slimy Giant African Snail was intercepted by an alert Beagle and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. On November 8, “Mox” a member of CBP’s “Beagle Brigade” alerted to a traveler's luggage after arriving on a flight from Nigeria.
During further inspection, a CBP Agriculture Specialist found a live Giant African Snail inside a suitcase. In addition, prohibited goat meat, cow skins, melon seeds, and vegetables that “Mox” alerted to were found.
“The amazing Beagle Brigade is a valuable team member of CBP’s agriculture mission protecting our nation from highly invasive pests such as the Giant African Snail,” said Clay Thomas, Area Port Director for Customs and Border Protection Atlanta.
“This was a significant discovery for our agriculture K9 team—a critical component of our nation’s frontline defense against all animal pests that threaten our agricultural resources.”
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Giant African Snail (GAS) is one of the most damaging snails in the world because it consumes at least 500 types of plants. It threatens U.S. agricultural resources and causes extensive damage to tropical and sub-tropical environments.
The highly invasive Giant African Snail also poses a serious health risk to humans because it carries a parasitic nematode that can lead to meningitis. The Giant African Snail intercepted by CBP Atlanta and agriculture was secured. The traveler, a US Citizen, was informed about bringing prohibited items into the country before continuing her journey to Texas.
Oftentimes, travelers learn during their CBP arrivals inspection that something they purchased or collected overseas is prohibited from entering the United States. Travelers can visit CBP’s Know Before You Go webpage before they travel overseas to learn which products are prohibited or restricted from the United States.
CBP agriculture specialists have extensive training and experience in the biological sciences and agricultural inspection. They examine international trade shipments and traveler baggage every day in the search for invasive insects, federal noxious weeds, and plant and animal diseases that could have a serious impact on our national agricultural resources.