U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers uncovered a slithering special delivery at Kennedy Airport last month after finding that five snakes had, indeed, made it to New York City by plane.
Officers seized five live juvenile king cobras from a package sent from Hong Kong during an inspection at the airport’s International Mail Facility June 29, officials reported Tuesday.
The express mail package had raised suspicion after its contents were described as a “plastic tray,” but an X-ray showed what appeared to be snakes in a round container.
Customs officials contacted the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to examine the package further. The outer box was carefully opened, revealing a plastic foam casing with rows of holes.
Inside were the snakes and three geckos. Customs officers seized the package and turned it over to the Fish and Wildlife Service for further investigation.
“Our CBP officers perform numerous daily tasks to protect the United States from potential dangers,” said Leon Hayward, acting director of CBP’s New York Field Operations. “This seizure demonstrates our wide ranging responsibility in protecting our borders and our partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.”