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Customs Suspicious About Package - Find Deadly Live Snakes Inside

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers were inspecting mail packages coming into the U.S. from Hong Kong on June 29 when they came across a package that had questionable contents. With a little investigating, they realized something was amiss. They opened the package and were shocked to find some deadly live cargo.

The officers were working in the John F. Kennedy International Airport mail center when the international package came through. The package listed that the contents were a plastic tray. When the package was X-rayed, it revealed mysterious items inside that looked like snakes.

To be safe, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service were called in to examine the package. Upon inspection, the service agents found the package contained Styrofoam casing with rows of holes. They determined that the contents were live snakes and geckos.

They opened the package carefully and discovered that the five snakes were king cobras, a deadly venomous snake species endemic to Asia.

Leon Hayward, Acting Director of CBP's New York Field Operations, says that these kinds of dangers are not uncommon in the field. "Our CBP officers perform numerous daily tasks to protect the United States from potential dangers. This seizure demonstrates our wide-ranging responsibility in protecting our borders and our partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service," he explained.

Some people will occasionally try to get around laws, expenses and red tape when it comes to importing small live animals. This can be a recipe for disaster, however, for the animals and for any place through which the package travels.

This isn't the first time someone got the bright idea of mailing deadly live animals. In March, authorities in Australia found a box being mailed from Australia as having suspicious contents. They discovered it was full of venomous vipers, large tarantulas, scorpions and other live reptiles.

An X-ray machine in a Melbourne airport caught the deadly package when it arrived from somewhere in the U.K.

According to the Australian Agriculture Department, not only are such animals dangerous, but they can also carry diseases. A spokesperson warns would-be importers trying to sneak animals into the country illegally to just forget about the idea.

"No spider is a match for our biosecurity web, we get our tails up when there are scorpions in the mail and if you try send exotic snakes - beware if we find intentional non-compliance, we bite back with the full force of the law," said the spokesperson. "Anyone who claims to be an animal lover and conceals reptiles or arachnids in small packages and sends them through the mail does not have the best interests of the animals or Australia at heart."

Australian Border Force Victorian regional commander James Watson says that security finds thousands of things per year in the mail that people are unscrupulously trying to smuggle into the country. "Whether it be drugs, firearms, illicit tobacco or in this case snakes and spiders, our officers are well trained to identify anything suspicious coming across the border," he said.

Source: CBS News, Fox News, SMH
Photo: CBP New York City/Twitter, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, WBIR, AirLive

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