Customs agents discover bird carcasses encased in cement as part of 'belief-based' smuggling effort

Palm seeds also part of strange shipment.

Updated: October 20, 2022 - 1:57pm

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Border protection agents this week said they made a bizarre discovery of several bird carcasses and seeds encased in cement, a smuggling attempt agents said was linked to a belief system of some sort. 

U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a press release that agents earlier this month "seized two bird carcasses and palm seeds encased in cement statues."

"The shipment from Mexico City was enroute to Odessa, Texas and vaguely manifested as a gift to a cousin 'with crafts'," the agency said. "The 10-kilogram shipment was examined via x-ray and contained three cement statues, each concealing organic material."

"Upon breaking open the statues, two rotted bird carcasses and 0.6 kilograms of suspected Elaeis Guineensis seeds were discovered encased inside," the agency said further. 

Acting Memphis Area Port Director Michael Johnson said in the release that strange shipments like those are often motivated by a "belief-based" conviction.

"The Yoruba, Santería or Osha religions use them, and are meant for luck, or for curses," he said, adding: "Hopefully our steam sterilization cleared away any bad spirits they may have drawn in.”