Giant African snails seized at Los Angeles airport - KTUL.com - Tulsa, Oklahoma - News, Weather & Sports

Giant African snails seized at Los Angeles airport

Posted: Updated:
(AP Photo/USDA, Greg Bartman). This undated photo provided by United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) showing one of the snails from an air cargo shipment of 67 live snails that arrived at Los Angeles International Airport on July 1, 2014. (AP Photo/USDA, Greg Bartman). This undated photo provided by United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) showing one of the snails from an air cargo shipment of 67 live snails that arrived at Los Angeles International Airport on July 1, 2014.
(AP Photo/USDA, Greg Bartman). This undated photo provided by United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) showing an air cargo shipment of 67 live snails that arrived at Los Angeles International Airport on July 1, 2014. (AP Photo/USDA, Greg Bartman). This undated photo provided by United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) showing an air cargo shipment of 67 live snails that arrived at Los Angeles International Airport on July 1, 2014.
(AP Photo/USDA, Greg Bartman) (AP Photo/USDA, Greg Bartman)
By KRYSTA FAURIA
Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Inspectors at Los Angeles International Airport seized an unusually slimy package - 67 live giant African snails that are a popular delicacy across West Africa.

The snails - which are prohibited in the U.S. - arrived from Nigeria and were being sent to a person in San Dimas, said Lee Harty, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Customs and Border protection.

The snails were confiscated July 1 and a sample was sent the next day to a federal mollusk specialist in Washington, D.C., who identified them as a prohibited species, Harty said.

The mollusks are among the largest land snails in the world and can grow to be up to 8 inches long. They are native to Africa and can live for up to 10 years.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture incinerated the snails after they were inspected, Harty said. The animals are prohibited in the U.S. because they can carry parasites that are harmful to humans, including one that can lead to meningitis.

The snails are also agricultural pests, said Maveeda Mirza, the CBP program manager for agriculture.

"These snails are seriously harmful to local plants because they will eat any kind of crop they can get to," Mirza said.

The person the snails were destined for is not expected to face any penalties, Mirza said. She said authorities are investigating why a single person would want so many snails.

"We're investigating what happened, but it doesn't seem like there was smuggling involved. When someone doesn't know a commodity is prohibited under USDA regulations there is usually no punishment," she said.

Although the agency has found one or two snails that may have accidentally gotten into a traveler's luggage in Los Angeles, this is the first time that they have confiscated the snails in such a large quantity, Mirza said.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • U.S. & World NewsMore>>

  • France sends soldiers to guard Air Algeria wreck

    France sends soldiers to guard Air Algeria wreck

    Friday, July 25 2014 5:05 AM EDT2014-07-25 09:05:14 GMT
    French officials say that the wreckage of an Air Algeria plane which crashed with 116 people aboard has been found in Mali.More >>
    French officials dispatched a military unit to secure the site in restive Mali where an Air Algeria plane crashed with 116 people aboard. France's interior minister said Friday that terrorism cannot be excluded as a...More >>
  • Ukraine reports overnight rebel attacks on border

    Ukraine reports overnight rebel attacks on border

    Friday, July 25 2014 4:33 AM EDT2014-07-25 08:33:37 GMT
    The Ukrainian army has reported rebel attacks overnight throughout the restive east, claiming that at one border crossing the rebels were supported by artillery fire from the Russian side.More >>
    The Ukrainian army on Friday claimed that soldiers came under artillery fire from the Russian side of the border overnight and were attacked by rebels in several other places in the restive east.More >>
  • Israel hits 30 Gaza homes, kills senior militant

    Israel hits 30 Gaza homes, kills senior militant

    Friday, July 25 2014 4:25 AM EDT2014-07-25 08:25:18 GMT
    An Israeli defense official says the Security Cabinet is meeting to discuss international cease-fire efforts, but also the option of expanding its eight-day-old ground operation in Gaza.More >>
    Israeli aircraft struck 30 houses in the Gaza Strip early Friday, killing a leader of the militant Islamic Jihad group and two of his sons, while ground troops and Hamas gunmen fought intense battles in the north and...More >>
Powered by WorldNow

P.O. Box 8 Tulsa, OK 74101-0008

Powered by WorldNow

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and KTUL. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.