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Snakes On A Plane

9/19/2007

ATLANTA, Ga. — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has fined a
man $800 for flying dead snakes and birds inside his luggage from
South Korea to Atlanta.
Last month, security officers at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta
International Airport found 30 snakes, a dead bird and pieces of
several other birds in his luggage.
All the animals were dead, but screeners took extra precautions
because U.S. Fish and Wildlife officers warned that some of the
snakes, packed inside jars and bottles, could still contain venom.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife officers issued two citations against the
man — one for failing to declare the unusual cargo and another for
violating laws intended to protect endangered species.
"They're typically used in traditional Chinese or Asian
medicine,'' said Darwin Huggins, Fish and Wildlife agent in charge
of Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. "Some of the snakes
had scorpions in their mouths. And they were preserved in wine.
It's a medicinal type wine that certain cultures drink.''
The passenger, whose name has not been released, was contacted
at his home in Florida.
The animals were inside boxes checked as luggage on a Korean Air
flight, which arrived in Atlanta on August 15.
Federal Transportation Security Administration officials say
international baggage is routinely screened and it is not unusual
to find animals and animal parts.
But such a large number of animals is odd, they said.