90 Pounds of Sheep Meat Seized at Dulles Airport

Tuesday, May 24, 2011  |  Updated 3:33 PM EDT
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The cooked meat weighed in at 88 pounds.

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When customs officials at Dulles airport asked an Ethiopian man whether he was carrying any foreign food products, he very honestly replied "yes."

Officials said that when the searched the man's luggage, they found 15 bags of cooked, curried sheep meat, weighing nearly 90 pounds.

"Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists typically encounter similar food products arriving from Africa, but the sheer volume makes this an extraordinarily unique seizure," said Christopher Hess, CBP director for the Port of Washington.  "That's an awful lot of food product to stuff inside one's baggage."

Inspectors found packets of the reddish-colored cooked meat in all six of the man's suitcases.

After seizing the meat, the man was allowed to continue to his final destination in Seattle.  The meat had to stay, though - Customs and Border Protection said it was disposed of in an incinerator.

Federal regulations bars the importation of animal products from countries known to have "exotic foreign animal diseases."

In December, officials got a suitcase surprise when they inspected items arriving from Ghana -- a plethora of animal products, including a dried hedgehog, elephant tails, chameleons, genet skins, seed pods, bloody sheets and a lot of soil. 

A year earlier officials stopped a man arriving at Dulles from Guatemala who was found carrying more than 11 pounds of heroin hidden inside juice boxes, according to customs officials.

In April 2010, officials found a creepy insect clinging to some flowers coming into the U.S. from Kenya and the Netherlands.

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