A U.S. Customs and Border Protection K9 is being praised for sniffing out something dangerous in a passenger’s luggage – and it’s not guns or drugs.
Four mummified monkeys were seized from a bag belonging to a passenger returning to the U.S. from a trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo, CBP said in a press release on Friday.
The incident occurred on January 8, 2024 at Boston’s Logan International Airport. Agents said a customs dog named Buddey alerted his handler to a piece of luggage during a preliminary screening of Delta flight 225 from Paris.
Customs said the passenger claimed the bag only held dried fish.
“The luggage was x-rayed and appeared to hold dried fish. Still, upon physical inspection, the officer identified the dead and dehydrated bodies of four monkeys,” CBP said.
Raw or minimally processed meat from wild animals, which is referred to as “bushmeat,” is banned in the U.S. because it could pose a disease risk.
“The potential dangers posed by bringing bushmeat into the United States are real,” Julio Caravia, Area Port Director of CBP’s Boston office said. “Bushmeat can carry germs that can cause illness, including the Ebola virus. The work of CBP’s K9 unit and Agricultural Specialist were vital in preventing this potential danger from entering the U.S.”
Customs agents contacted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which requested that the luggage be seized and that Delta Airlines either destroy or return the bags to France.
The nearly 9 pounds of bushmeat was seized and marked for destruction, the press release said.
Customs officials did not immediately respond to USA TODAY’s request for comment but a spokesperson told the Associated Press that no charges were filed against the passenger.
The traveler said he brought the monkeys into the U.S. for his own consumption, Ryan Bissette, a CPB spokesperson, told AP on Sunday.