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First it was snails the size of hams. Now U.S. customs agriculture specialists have seized 20 foot-long live millipedes in a package marked "toy car model" at San Francisco International Airport.
Agriculture specialists "were quick to notice the deception" on the package's arrival at the airport last week, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol said in a statement. Once it was opened, the huge millipedes were found wriggling away in a mesh bag, along with chunks of soil and paper. Because the package didn't have the required import permits and was packaged to bypass federal regulations, the shipment has been turned over to the Agriculture Department's smuggling interdiction office.
Some species of millipedes can grow to 14 inches, but the average length is about 6 inches, according to the Integrated Pest Management program at the University of California. In July, customs officials seized 67 live African snails described as being the size of hams at Los Angeles International Airport, mislabeled as gourmet escargot.