A Nigerian woman was stopped at Baltimore-Washington International Airport last week after the homemade soap she was trying to bring into the country looked a bit suspicious.
First of all, it was black soap. Second, it just happened to be encasing ... a dead bird.
Customs and Border Protection specialists found the soap-encrusted bird after the traveler, who arrived from London, wouldn't come clean about what she was trying to bring into the country. She repeatedly denied having any animal products on her.
Oh, they also found 3.6 pounds of beef, three pounds of chicken bullion and one star fruit to go along with the bird.
She was fined $300.
“We’ve witnessed many unusual concealment methods, but a dead bird concealed inside black homemade soap has to take the title of most unusual here at BWI,” said James Swanson, CBP Port Director for the Port of Baltimore. “Oddity aside, our agriculture specialists take their mission of protecting U.S. agriculture very seriously. This concealed bird posed a potential threat to American poultry and it was destroyed.”
What's the big deal? The CBP said Nigeria is considered to be affected with the highly-pathogenic avian influenza and foot-and-mouth disease. Meat products from Nigeria are prohibited unless they are imported under a U.S. Department of Agriculture permit.
Other recent finds by the CBP:
- A traveler from Jamaica was fined for repeatedly failing to declare two prohibited yams and three packets of prohibited propagative cabbage seeds. The yams and seeds were destroyed.
- A couple from London was fined for failing to report four drumstick fruits and a bag of eight assorted species of propagative seeds from India. The drumstick fruit and seeds were destroyed.
“It’s a constant game of cat and mouse, and we’re very skillful at detecting and pouncing on prohibited agriculture products,” Swanson said.
No word on if any cats or mice have been smuggled in recently.
For more information on what is and is not allowed in the country, travelers can visit the CBP’s travel Web site at http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel/.