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 February 12, 2024

Passenger Tried Smuggling In Remains Of 4 Mummified Monkeys

An extraordinary detection by a canine at Boston Logan Airport has spotlighted the ongoing issue of illegal bushmeat smuggling into the United States.

A federal agency dog named Buddy unearthed four mummified monkeys in a traveler's luggage from the Democratic Republic of Congo, halting the entry of potentially disease-carrying bushmeat into the country.

On January 9, during a routine screening at Boston Logan Airport, Buddy, a diligent US Customs and Border Protection Dog, signaled his handler towards a piece of luggage that raised suspicion.

The luggage belonged to a traveler who had just returned from the Democratic Republic of Congo with a layover in Paris. Initially, the traveler claimed the suitcase contained nothing more than dried fish.

However, an initial X-ray suggested something more hidden amidst the fish. Further investigation by the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) personnel revealed four deceased and mummified monkeys. This discovery underscored the vigilance and importance of the CBP's work, particularly that of Buddy and his handler.

Buddy's Nose Knows: A Key Detection at Boston Logan Airport

Julio Caravia, the area port director for CBP Boston, underscored the dangers of importing bushmeat, not least among them the risk of transmitting diseases such as Ebola. "The potential dangers posed by bringing bushmeat into the United States are real," Caravia stated, highlighting the critical role of Buddy and the CBP's Agricultural Specialist in averting a potential health crisis.

Following the discovery, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention were promptly notified. They decided that the seized bushmeat, totaling about nine pounds, should either be destroyed or sent back to France to mitigate any possible health risks.

Interestingly, no charges were brought against the traveler, though all of his luggage was seized. This incident puts a spotlight on the complex challenges and considerations involved in handling cases of illegal smuggling, especially those that pose a public health risk.

Smuggling Attempts: Not Just Limited to Jungle Produce

In a separate, albeit related incident, another smuggling attempt was thwarted. A traveler from Taiwan, aiming to transport exotic animals from Bangkok to Taipei, was caught at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi International Airport.

Concealed within his designer underwear were two Asian small-clawed otters and a prairie dog, as reported by Phakkapong Phathong, Suvarnabhumi Animal Quarantine chief.

This event occurred on a Tuesday morning when the smuggler was arrested at 9:05 am, highlighting the varied facets of wildlife trafficking.

Lessons to learn from this tragedy

The incidents at Boston Logan and Suvarnabhumi International Airports are stark reminders of the lengths to which individuals will go to smuggle wildlife and wildlife products. Here are three lessons we can learn:

1. Always declare your goods when traveling internationally. Transparency can prevent serious legal and health ramifications.
2. Be vigilant about the origins of the products you consume, especially when abroad. Understanding the potential risks can protect your health and the environment.
3. Recognize that despite taking all precautions, illegal activities such as smuggling can occur. One should never victim-blame, as crime can target anyone.

Remember, these steps can guide but cannot prevent all crimes. It's crucial to stay informed and cautious, always respecting wildlife and international laws.

Why this story matters

This story sheds light on the pressing issues of wildlife smuggling and introducing potential diseases through illegal imports, such as bushmeat. It's a wake-up call for the community to remain vigilant and support the work of customs and border protection agencies to safeguard public health and biodiversity. Recognizing the dedication of animals like Buddy in these efforts underlines the importance of continual vigilance and education in combating such illegal practices.

  • Buddy, a federal agency dog, detected four mummified monkeys in a traveler's luggage from the Democratic Republic of Congo.
  • The traveler attempted to smuggle the bushmeat into the United States, risking the introduction of diseases such as Ebola.
  • The CBP, with Buddy's help, prevented this potential threat, underscoring the risks associated with importing bushmeat.
  • The CDC was involved in deciding the fate of the seized bushmeat.
  • A separate incident highlighted another facet of animal smuggling, involving a traveler from Taiwan and exotic animals.
  • These events emphasize the critical role of vigilance and awareness in preventing illegal wildlife trade and protecting public health.

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Written By: Rampart Stonebridge

I'm Rampart Stonebridge, a curious and passionate writer who can't get enough of true crime. As a criminal investigative journalist, I put on my detective hat, delving deep into each case to reveal the hidden truths. My mission? To share engaging stories and shed light on the complexities of our mysterious world, all while satisfying your curiosity about the intriguing realm of true crime.
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