Hundreds of leeches seized by U.S. Customs officials in Philadelphia
PHILADELPHIA - U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials in Philadelphia recently seized hundreds of slimy bloodsucking leeches that were destined for address in three states.
Officials say a total of about 300 leeches were found in nine plastic jars that arrived in a combined six air cargo shipments from Bulgaria between Feb. 19 and Feb. 25.
The shipments were headed to addresses in Connecticut, Florida, and Illinois.
(U.S. Customs and Border Protection)
Labels on each of the jars identified the slimy critters as Hirudo Orientalis. U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials identified the species as as Hirudo Medicinalis, a species of leech used in medical bloodletting treatments.
After identifying the leeches, officials determined the shipments violated the U.S. Endangered Species Act that prohibits the unlicensed possession, trade, import and export of protested species.
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