Human umbilical cords were discovered inside luggage at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport by US Customs and Border Protection personnel.
According to a news release from the agency, authorities claimed they found the item on August 2 when checking the luggage of a traveler on Spirit Airlines Flight 1439 from Honduras. The traveler had been recommended for further examination.
The traveler left the body parts at the airport to be burned after telling authorities that the umbilical cord and a medical wristband belonged to a relative.
An umbilical cord and a positive pregnancy test were also found in the luggage of another passenger on the same regularly scheduled aircraft on June 28 from Honduras to New Orleans who claimed they belonged to a cousin.
The instances, according to Mark Choina, interim area port director for New Orleans, should serve as a warning to travelers to be sure they are only moving things that are lawful.
This seizure emphasizes the importance of knowing what is in your bag and if you can legally import it, especially if you are transporting it for someone else, Choina said in a statement. “With the vast number of daily travelers, our officers are guaranteed to encounter some unusual items. However, two umbilical cords, a month apart, coming from the same country is noteworthy. This seizure highlights the importance of knowing what is in your bag, and if you can legally import it, especially if you are transporting it for someone else,” Choina said in the statement.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention must issue an import permission if travelers are carrying biological items in their luggage.