Voodoo Priest's Primate Skull, Dead Bats Confiscated at Airport

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Courtsey of U.S. Customs and Border Protection
    Primate Skull

    A primate skull and dead bats are among the "unique threats" that have been found in the past few months at Washington Dulles International Airport.

    One of the tasks of U.S. Customs and Border Protection is to intercept agriculture products that pose potential threats to America's industries -- and while that typically includes meats and fruits, a few unusual items have been intercepted recently.

    A traveler from Gabon, Africa, who claimed to be a voodoo priest, arrived in June with a necklace made of the teeth of mandrill -- a primate similar to a baboon.

    The passenger said he used the necklace for spiritual rituals.

    In another case, CBP officials found an uncleaned primate skull in a woman's luggage who was traveling from Russia. The passenger claimed the skull, which was topped with feathers, was a token of "good luck" from Togo.

    Both the necklace and skull, upon the recommendation of CDC, were later destroyed because they had the potential to introduce Ebola, HIV, monkey pox or other viruses, officials said.

    Another "unusual threat" was a bucket containing dead bats, shrews, dormice, rats, mice and mongoose.

    CBP officials came across a traveler who arrived from South Sudan with the five gallon bucket in May. Although the small dead animals were to be used for scientific research, the man didn't have the appropriate documents with him at the time.