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Human Skulls, Living Snails And Moss Bathmats Seized At O’Hare Airport

The airport's Customs and Border Protection specialists have seized 1,667 agricultural shipments with prohibited items since October. Recent shipments included human skulls and live moss.

Commuters make their way through O'Hare International Airport on May 30, 2021.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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CHICAGO — Human skulls, live snails and bathmats made of living moss — they’ve all been found at O’Hare Airport in recent months, officials said Thursday.

The airport’s Customs and Border Protection specialists have seized 1,667 agricultural shipments with prohibited items since October, according to a news release. The most common items in the shipments: sausages, plants and plant materials, seeds and live snails.

But the most notable shipments contained human skulls and moss bathmats, according to the agency.

The skulls were found March 29. A shipment from the Netherlands that was destined for Iowa was inspected via X-ray at O’Hare, showing “anomalies,” according to Customs and Border Protection. Specialists found two skulls inside the package — and another two packages contained two skulls each. The skulls were sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

On March 8, one of the agency’s dogs — Hitch — drew workers’ attention to three packages that had come from Poland, the agency said in a release. The package each had three live pole moss bathmats, which officials worried could “inadvertently introduce plant disease, propagative materials and insects into the United States,” which could harm agriculture here, according to the agency.

The moss bathmats were destroyed by steam sterilization, according to the agency.

People who want to import plant or animal materials or other agricultural items should consult the Customs and Border Protection Information Center by going online or calling 877-227-5511.

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