Jars stuffed with slimy leeches — bound for three states — were seized by customs officers in Philadelphia last month.
About 300 blood-sucking parasites arrived in six shipments from Bulgaria between Feb. 19 and Feb. 25 and were headed to destinations in Connecticut, Florida and Illinois, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Philadelphia said in a news release this week.
“Customs and Border Protection officers and agriculture specialists often encounter unique and interesting things, like this jar full of icky bloodsuckers, while inspecting goods being imported to the United States,” Joseph Martella, CBP’s area port director in Philadelphia said in the release.
The leeches were confiscated for violating the US Endangered Species Act, which prohibits the unlicensed trade of protected wildlife.
The agency said the leeches were of a species commonly used in “medical bloodletting treatment.”
“CBP officers remain committed to collaborating with federal, state and local law enforcement partners to intercept shipments that violate our nation’s laws and potentially threaten harm to our nation’s citizens and our economy,” Martella said.