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LAX seizes elephant meat, dead monkey, illegal handbags

LOS ANGELES, May 21 (UPI) — U.S. Customs officials at Los Angeles International Airport said they confiscated a dead monkey, elephant meat and illegal handbags made of reptile skin.

Airport officials said it had an unusual week this month after several illegal items were found at the airport.

“We intercept and seize a multitude of remarkable items,” U.S. Customs and Border Protection field operations director Todd Owen said.

On May 6, officers said they discovered hundreds of handbags made from prohibited reptile skin in the checked baggage of a 31-year-old man arriving from Nigeria.

The man had 98 bags made of African rock pythons, 19 of monitor lizard, 85 of dwarf crocodile, 179 of cobra and six of puff adder snake, the Los Angeles Times reported Monday.

Three days later, officials found a half pound of elephant meat in a package headed to Fresno, Calif., from Thailand, the newspaper said. Elephant meat is banned by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, airport officials said.

On May 10, officers found a package containing a dead macaque monkey headed for North Port, Fla., from Indonesia, the newspaper reported.

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

Copyright 2013 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

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