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December 9, 2010

"Spiritual" suitcase contained elephant tails, hedgehog

Press releases from the Customs and Border Protection never cease to amaze with the strange items seized from people coming into the country.

[Right click and select 'view image' to enlarge the picture]

Today, the agency said that a passenger arriving at Dulles from Ghana - and destined for Maryland - on Dec. 3 tried to pass through with a suitcase containing a hedgehog, elephant tails, chameleons, skins from genets (a cat-like species indigenous to Africa), seed pods, sheets soaked with the blood of sacrificed chickens, and "a lot of soil." He said the items were for "spiritual purposes."

The 59-year-old passenger had initially told agents that his suitcase contained dried herbs and clothing.

“This is by far one of the strangest suitcases we’re ever opened. The passenger told us that the items were to be used for spiritual purposes. From what we were able to learn, the items seem consistent with that explanation,” said Christopher Hess, CBP Port Director for the Port of Washington. “Regardless of its intended purpose, each item posed potentially severe animal and plant disease threats to American agriculture. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists were required to destroy them.”

[Image courtesy Customs and Border Protection]

Posted by Justin Fenton at 1:08 PM | | Comments (9)


Was the hedgehog alive or dead?

The critter was described as "dried," so I'm going to say it was dead. We've got a picture but, uh, not posting it.

At least he didn't say they were supplies for the new restaurant he was planning to open.

A dried hedgehog makes more sense. However, I did have a very funny mental picture of a customs officer opening the suitcase and a hedgehog popping out!

This is the stuff of Voodo!
All is used in the Christian Ghana religious ceremonies.

~Illisse too funny......LOL.....that was a good one...."hedgehog popping out"

"...That Voodoo, that you do, so well..."

to "Strange", Christians don't use voodoo. I don't know what YOU'VE HEARD, but Christians don't use voodoo...

Don, Voodoo evolved from the concurrent practices of West African Minkisi (sacred medicine) and Roman Catholicism. As a combination of pagan practices it is at least as “Christian” as Christmas and Easter.

Newsflash, Don Mars!
There are MANY sects of your "christianity", and some of them incorporate "voodoo".
What about catholics who bury statues of saints in their yards to sell houses?

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About Peter Hermann
Peter Hermann started covering news for The Baltimore Sun in 1990, first in Anne Arundel County and, starting in 1994, reporting on the Baltimore Police Department. In 2001, he was assigned to Jerusalem as the Baltimore Sun's Middle East correspondent. He returned in 2005 as an assistant city editor overseeing crime coverage. In 2008, Peter returned to the beat as a daily reporter and blogger. A recent BBC report featured him in a segment on the harsh realities of covering crime in Baltimore.

Coverage will focus on crime trends, problems in neighborhoods in the city and elsewhere, profiles of victims and police officers and try to offer readers a fresh perspective on one of the most vexing issues facing Baltimore and its future.

Contributing to this blog is Justin Fenton, who joined The Sun in 2005 and has covered the Baltimore City Police Department and the criminal justice system since 2008. His work includes an investigation into Cal Ripken Jr.’s minor league baseball stadium deal with his hometown of Aberdeen, a three-part series chronicling a ruthless con woman, coverage of the killing of five Amish children at a schoolhouse in Nickel Mines, Pa., and a job swap with a British crime reporter to explore differences in crime-fighting. A special report looking into how city police handle rape cases led to sweeping reforms that changed the way sexual assaults are investigated in Baltimore. He was recognized as the best reporter in Baltimore by the City Paper in 2010 and by Baltimore Magazine in 2011.

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