Live centipedes labeled as “earphones” and dried sea cucumbers declared as “dried food” were seized by the Customs and Border Protection Los Angeles Field Office in what it says is a representation of a huge increase in contraband coming by air, sea and ground shipments.

The CBP LA Field Office said it saw a 73% increase from 2020 to 2021 in people trying to ship prohibited animal products into the United States. The office issued 2,695 “Emergency Action Notifications” in 2020, and 4,665 in 2021.

These are items that are undeclared or labeled as something different.

Some of those items:

May 4: Live Centipedes

Customs and Border Protection Los Angeles Field Office

Agriculture Specialists discovered 26 vials containing live centipedes concealed in earphone cases.

April 27: Dried Sea Cucumbers

Customs and Border Protection Los Angeles Field Office

A shipment arriving from Hong Kong with 28.6 pounds of dried sea cucumbers was declared as “dried food.”

May 3: Plants for propagation

Customs and Border Protection Los Angeles Field Office

Agriculture Specialists stopped 15 unknown live propagative plants with soil, declared as “plastic flowers” arriving from China.

May 5: Ruminant Noodles Swine Sausages

Customs and Border Protection Los Angeles Field Office

Over 55 pounds of noodles with ruminant ingredient and swine sausage products were manifested as “packaging box.”

“The illegal importation of plants and animal products could introduce foreign pests and diseases threatening the United States vital agriculture industry,” said Carlos C. Martel, CBP Director of Field Operations in Los Angeles. “These unprecedented numbers reflect the critical role of CBP’s agriculture specialists in identifying and intercepting these shipments.”

The agency said the danger in transporting pork is the worry that products infected with African Swine Fever would spread in the U.S.

The office said the ruminant noodles, swine sausages, and plants were destroyed, while the live centipedes and the dried sea cucumbers were handed over to the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife.

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