DULLES, Va. – Customs agents discovered zebra and giraffe bones in the baggage of a Virginia woman at Dulles International Airport near Washington, D.C., last month, authorities said.
According to a news release on Saturday from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, agriculture specialists conducting a secondary baggage examination on Nov. 10 discovered bones in a passenger’s baggage. The woman, from Fauquier County, Virginia, admitted to agents that they were giraffe and zebra bones she found in Kenya and kept as souvenirs.
Agents detained the bones and contacted U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service inspectors on their admissibility.
On Nov. 17, USFWS inspectors reported that the bones violated provisions of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and the Lacey Act, the news release stated.
The agency directed the CBP to seize the bones.
The woman has not been released because she was not criminally charged.
“I can appreciate travelers wanting to keep souvenirs of their vacations, but those souvenirs could violate United States or international law, or potentially expose our families, pets or our nation’s agriculture industries to serious animal or plant diseases,” Kim Der-Yeghiayan, acting area port director for CBP in Washington, D.C., said in a statement. “Customs and Border Protection strongly encourages all travelers to know what they can and cannot pack in their baggage before returning to or visiting the United States and to declare all items upon arrival.”
It is not the first time an unusual object was seized at Dulles, WTTG-TV reported.
Customs agents seized more than $200,000 in unreported currency from travelers flying from the airport to Africa and Asia in September and October, according to the television station.
In March, more than a dozen counterfeit designer brand wristwatches, a handbag and sunglasses were taken from a traveler arriving at Dulles from Dubai, WTTG reported.
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