Customs officers in Philadelphia seized jars full of slimy leeches last month. The US Customs and Border Protection in Philadelphia said in a news release this week that around 300 blood-sucking parasites arrived in six shipments from Bulgaria between February 19 and February 25. The shipments were headed to Connecticut, Florida, and Illinois.
Joseph Martella, CBP's area port director in Philadelphia, noted that it was common for Customs and Border Protection officers and agriculture specialists to encounter 'unique and interesting things.' The leeches were confiscated for violating the US Endangered Species Act. The act prohibits the unlicensed trade of protected wildlife.
The Species of Leeches Confiscated are used in 'Medical Bloodletting Treatment'
The agency noted that the confiscated leeches were of a species commonly used in 'medical bloodletting treatment.'
"CBP officers remain committed to collaborating with federal, state, and local law enforcement partners to intercept shipments that violate our nation's laws and potentially threaten harm to our nation's citizens and our economy," Martella noted.
In a similar incident, CBP officers encountered a taxidermied bird in a display case labeled as a Little Auk bird on January 25. It is indigenous to the Arctic and North Atlantic oceans, and the Bering Sea. The bird was being shipped from Hull, UK to an address in Quebec, Canada.
Late last year, CBP officers seized protected crocodile skins from Sierra Leone, a taxidermied Little Ring Plover that violated the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and ivory products produced from poached tusks of protected pachyderms.