SAN FRANCISCO—U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists assigned to the international mail facility at San Francisco International Airport discovered 20 live giant millipedes while inspecting a package marked “toy car model”.
The large package from Germany arrived at the U.S. Postal Service International Service Center at SFO and was routed through an x-ray machine.
A CBPAS noticed an anomaly and selected the package for further inspection.
“Customs and Border Protection officers and agriculture specialists routinely x-ray and inspect packages arriving from foreign locations for contraband and other prohibited items before they are permitted to enter the U.S.,” said Brian J. Humphrey, CBP director of Field Operations in San Francisco. “The agriculture specialists on duty were quick to notice the deception and took the necessary action.”
The package contained a large plastic foam box, which when opened revealed a large mesh bag containing the foot-long millipedes, along with chunks of soil and paper.
The shipment was referred to U.S. Department of Agriculture- Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service for positive identification Although it is not illegal to import exotic animals, federal agencies such as U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regulate such imports and require certain permits and documentation.
This package lacked required import permits and was misrepresented in an attempt to bypass federal regulations. The shipment has been turned over to USDA and was referred to USDA-Smuggling Interdiction and Trade Compliance for further action.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.