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Elephant meat for Fresno, protected reptile handbags and one dead primate at LAX



May 6 - May 12, 2013: LOS ANGELES - U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers intercepted and seized nearly half a pound of elephant meat and a dead primate at the International Mail Facility. They also seized 387 snake, lizard and crocodile skin handbags from a passenger arriving from Nigeria at the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).
May 6 - May 12, 2013: LOS ANGELES - U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers intercepted and seized nearly half a pound of elephant meat and a dead primate at the International Mail Facility. They also seized 387 snake, lizard and crocodile skin handbags from a passenger arriving from Nigeria at the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).
Jaime Ruiz/U.S. Customs and Border Protection via Flickr
May 6 - May 12, 2013: LOS ANGELES - U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers intercepted and seized nearly half a pound of elephant meat and a dead primate at the International Mail Facility. They also seized 387 snake, lizard and crocodile skin handbags from a passenger arriving from Nigeria at the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).
May 6 - May 12, 2013: LOS ANGELES - U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers intercepted and seized nearly half a pound of elephant meat and a dead primate at the International Mail Facility. They also seized 387 snake, lizard and crocodile skin handbags from a passenger arriving from Nigeria at the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).
Jaime Ruiz/U.S. Customs and Border Protection via Flickr
May 6 - May 12, 2013: LOS ANGELES - U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers intercepted and seized nearly half a pound of elephant meat and a dead primate at the International Mail Facility. They also seized 387 snake, lizard and crocodile skin handbags from a passenger arriving from Nigeria at the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).
May 6 - May 12, 2013: LOS ANGELES - U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers intercepted and seized nearly half a pound of elephant meat and a dead primate at the International Mail Facility. They also seized 387 snake, lizard and crocodile skin handbags from a passenger arriving from Nigeria at the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).
Jaime Ruiz/U.S. Customs and Border Protection via Flickr


Officials seized a dead primate; 387 snake, lizard and crocodile skin handbags; and nearly half a pound of elephant meat over the course of a few days earlier this month at Los Angeles International Airport, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Jill Birchell, special agent in charge for Fish and Wildlife in California and Nevada told the Press-Telegram that "several of these were endangered species and under the highest level of protection."

The Asian elephant meat originated in Thailand and was bound for Fresno. It was found tucked inside plant material.

"It's a highly endangered animal" Birchell said. "There's no international trade whatsoever with that animal."

The primate, headed to Florida from Indonesia, had been declared a "gift."

"It appears that the primate, since it was stuffed, was either going to be displayed by someone in their home or it might have been intended for some scientific purpose," Birchell said. "It did have the appearance of a scientific specimen. It was preserved. "

CBS LA reports that the handbags were made out of protected animal skins including:

All of the items were turned over to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.