Dead monkey, elephant meat and reptile purses seized at LAX

In what even U.S. Customs officials are describing as a “weird” week of sorts, border protection officers seized nearly half a pound of exotic meat, a dead primate and hundreds of handbags made with reptile skin coming in from Nigeria.

“We intercept and seize a multitude of remarkable items,” U.S. Customs and Border Protection field operations director Todd Owen said.

Remarkable? Unusual is another way to put it.

On May 6, officers at Los Angeles International Airport checked the bag of a 31-year-old man coming in from Nigeria. He declared a number of handbags that turned out to be made of prohibited reptile skin, including 98 of African rock pythons, 19 of monitor lizard, 85 of dwarf crocodile, 179 of cobra and six of puff adder snake.


Three days later, officers examined an item headed for Fresno from Thailand. The package contained almost half a pound of elephant meat, which is banned by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, officials said.

To cap off the regular workweek on May 10, officers stopped a gift that was flagged for North Port, Fla., from Indonesia. That ended up being a dead Macaque monkey, officials said.

All of the items were turned over to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.


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