ATLANTA – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has fined a man $800 for flying dead snakes and birds inside his luggage from South Korea to Atlanta.
Last month, security officers at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport found 30 snakes, a dead bird and pieces of several other birds in his luggage.
All the animals were dead, but screeners took extra precautions because U.S. Fish and Wildlife officers warned that some of the snakes, packed inside jars and bottles, could still contain venom.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife officers issued two citations against the man — one for failing to declare the unusual cargo and another for violating laws intended to protect endangered species.
"They're typically used in traditional Chinese or Asian medicine," said Darwin Huggins, Fish and Wildlife agent in charge of Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. "Some of the snakes had scorpions in their mouths. And they were preserved in wine. It's a medicinal type wine that certain cultures drink."
The passenger, whose name has not been released, was contacted at his home in Florida.
The animals were inside boxes checked as luggage on a Korean Air flight, which arrived in Atlanta on August 15.
Federal Transportation Security Administration officials say international baggage is routinely screened and it is not unusual to find animals and animal parts.
But such a large number of animals is odd, they said.