Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Giant Bettles Seized!

Eww. I guess somebody planned on having these for dinner or something!

PHILADELPHIA - Customs agents seized more than two dozen potentially harmful giant beetles - some the size of a child's hand - from a package after postal workers heard the insects making scratching noises.

The large bugs arrived last week from Taiwan at a postal facility in Mohnton, about 50 miles northwest of Philadelphia, in a box whose contents were labeled as toys, gifts and jellies, authorities said Wednesday.

But the postmaster suspected the box contained live organisms and notified authorities, according to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency. The package was sent to Philadelphia, where it was X-rayed and then opened.

"The specimens were some of the largest of their kind, and some of the largest I've ever seen, averaging five to six inches in diameter," said John Plummer, an agency agriculture specialist, said in a statement Wednesday. "They are highly destructive insect pests that can cause extensive damage to fruit and vegetable crops, trees, shrubs and turf grasses."

In all, authorities found 26 Hercules, Rhinoceros and Goliath beetles. It is illegal to ship live beetles into the United States without a permit from the Department of Agriculture.

It was not immediately clear if any charges were expected to be filed. A call to the customs agency was not immediately returned.

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