Elephant meat seized in Los Angeles

Elephant meat seized: US Customs has seized elephant meat, a dead macaque primate from Indonesia, and 387 handbags made from pythons, monitor lizards, dwarf crocodiles, cobras and puff adder snakes.

(AP Photo/U.S. Customs & Border Protection)
Some of the hundreds of handbags, made from the skin of snakes, lizards and crocodiles, are among the contraband items seized by the agency at Los Angeles International Airport between May 6 and 10. Officials also seized elephant meat and a dead primate.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers in Los Angeles have made some unusual seizures, including elephant meat, a dead primate and hundreds of handbags made from the skin of snakes, lizards and crocodiles.

The agency says in a press release Monday that the illegal items were seized between May 6 and May 10 at an international mail facility and at Los Angeles International Airport.

The tiny dead macaque primate from Indonesia had been declared as a gift and was addressed to North Port, Fla.

The elephant meat was from a protected species in Thailand and was bound for Fresno, Calif.

The 387 purses were in the baggage of a passenger from Nigeria. the purses were made from prohibited and protected species including 98 made of African rock pythons, 19 made of monitor lizards, 85 made of dwarf crocodiles, 179 made of cobras and 6 made of puff adder snakes.

In March, more than $14 million in fake Hermès handbags were seized by U.S. Customs officers at the Port of Los Angeles/Long Beach.

The 1,500 counterfeit bags arrived from China in two shipments on Feb. 12 and 26, officials said.  Each bag was valued at $18,414.

Discovering exotic items is part of the job. Last year, customs officers at LAX seized seven ivory tusks, one hippopotamus tusk, and seven purses made of ostrich, stingray, crocodile and elephant skins in baggage belonging to a US citizen coming from Europe.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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