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Primate Skull, Teeth Necklace & Bucket of Dead Bats Confiscated at Dulles Airport

U.S. Customs has intercepted an assortment of unusual items recently from a "voodoo priest" and other international passengers at Washington Dulles International Airport.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists encountered this primate skull with feathers May 22 at Washington Dulles International Airport. (Source: CBP Photo/Handout)
U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists encountered this primate skull with feathers May 22 at Washington Dulles International Airport. (Source: CBP Photo/Handout)
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials at Washington Dulles International Airport have confiscated some "unique threats" as of late, including a primate teeth necklace belonging to a voodoo priest, a "good luck" primate skull and a bucket of dead bats.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, a traveler claiming to be a voodoo priest from the African nation of Gabon touched down June 18 with a necklace made of mandrill teeth (a mandrill is a primate closely related to the baboon). Though the man said he used the necklace in spiritual rituals, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) decided to destroy the necklace due to possible Ebola, HIV, and monkey pox-carrying contaminants.

Another traveler from Russia arrived May 22 with an uncleaned primate skull covered in feathers in his baggage. The passenger said she purchased the skull in the West African country of Togo as a token of "good luck," though CDC and USFWS officials decided to destroy the skull as well, saying the contaminated feathers could potentially pose an avian disease risk. Both travelers failed to declare possession of their prohibited products to CBP during inspection.

A third traveler from South Sudan arrived may 24 with a five-gallon bucket containing scientific research samples, including six species of bats, shrews, dormice, rats, mice and Mongoose. The traveler reportedly did not possess appropriate documentation to import the samples. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, along with CDC and USFWS, obtained permits to properly preserve the samples for shipment and subsequently released the samples July 3. 

CBP agriculture specialists inspect tens of thousands of international air and sea passengers every day. 



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