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CBP intercepts giant millipedes at SFO mail facility

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists assigned to the international mail facility at San Francisco International Airport have 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 CBP agricultural specialist noticed an anomaly and selected the package for further inspection, the CBP says.

“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 (USDA) 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 CBP says. The shipment has been turned over to USDA and was referred to USDA-Smuggling Interdiction and Trade Compliance for further action.


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