Skip to main content

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has confiscated more than 100 pounds of bushmeat from travelers at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport in recent weeks.

In a news release Wednesday, CBP said the importation of prohibited wild animal meat has become a trend that could lead to the outbreak of disease among humans. 

“Minnesota’s CBP agriculture specialists are focused on their mission to prevent entry of prohibited items from entering into the United States,” said LaFonda D. Sutton-Burke, Director, Field Operations-Chicago. “The sheer volume of bushmeat our specialist intercept clearly shows how they play a critical role in preventing diseases from entering the United States.”

Over the last week of 2021, officials seized 104 pounds of bushmeat. The term is used to describe raw or minimally processed meat that comes from wild animals (bats, nonhuman primates, cane rats, and antelope) in certain regions, including Africa. 

The CBP says these meats are often smoked, dried or salted, which isn't an effective way to prevent disease. Because of this, bushmeat can be infected with germs and can cause people to get sick with viruses, including Ebola

Because bushmeat could potentially introduce foreign animal disease, CBP agriculture specialists "take the most restrictive action" to seize and destroy any bushmeat in a traveler's luggage. 

The CBP says U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents have been returning from Liberia with bushmeat in recent weeks but they're only declaring they have fish. And when they're asked directly about it, some continue to declare they only have fish, CBP said. 

When their luggage is searched, officials discover more than just fish, with the CBP noting most packages of meat are wrapped in multiple layers of newspaper, plastic, foil and tape.

Sign up: Subscribe to our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

Last week, agriculture specialists stopped a passenger returning from Liberia and when he was asked if he had any bushmeat, he said he had "parts of a monkey." He ended up having two primate arms and "primate rib material," CBP said.

"The intermingling of fish and bushmeat in the same package is common," Chief Agriculture Specialist Lauren Lewis said in a statement. 

Steven Bansbach of CBP told Bring Me The News the maximum penalty for bringing bushmeat into the U.S. is $250,000. In most cases, CBP agriculture specialists educate passengers about the dangers of bringing the meat into the U.S. That's unless they are repeat offenders or other circumstances.

The National Institute of Health in 2017 looked at the incentives for bushmeat consumption and importation of bushmeat among West African immigrants living in Minnesota. Read it here

Next Up

Blaine VFW video screengrab crop N West Twitter

Authorities now looking into MN lawmaker's report of assault

Video shows Rep. Nolan West being grabbed and pushed out of a public event.

TajPharmaImages WIkimedia Commons ivermectin

COVID treatments: Essentia Health to help test 3 existing meds

The clinical trial includes the much-discussed drug ivermectin.

Screen Shot 2022-01-24 at 3.48.57 PM

Suspect crashes into Minneapolis snow plow, fires shots at plow driver

The plow driver was pulled to the side of the road when the incident happened.

cold Minneapolis

Coldest day of the winter is possible this week in Minnesota

An air temp of -30F isn't out of the question too far from the metro.

polley freeborn county jail roster jan 2022 resize

District fires school counselor accused of sexually assaulting student

He's been charged with felony criminal sexual conduct.

Moorhead family

Authorities pinpoint source of CO that killed family of 7

The victims, all members of Hernandez-Pinto family, were found dead in a Moorhead home.

polymet mining

Court issues mixed ruling on PolyMet, orders more analysis on water permit

The court, however, overruled several challenges to the permit.

SPPD Kua person of interest 01-24-2022

Police release images of woman driving stolen Audi that had puppy inside

It's not clear whether she was involved in the vehicle theft.

J R Jones - Anoka County Jail 2021.10.16 - Resize crop

Fatal hit-and-run driver can avoid prison time with plea deal

He was charged with striking and killing a 56-year-old who was walking her dog.

Screen Shot 2022-01-24 at 11.21.49 AM

Alex Rodriguez: 'I'm not a Packers fan'

He was at Lambeau screaming "Cheese!" and "Let's go!" during the playoff game against the 49ers.


fake airpods

Border officials seize thousands of fake AirPods at International Falls

The AirPods were in a rail container headed for Ranier.

CBP heater

More than $260K in fake heaters seized at Minnesota border

The 780 infrared zone heaters were found in a rail car bound for Ranier, Minnesota.

android sanitizing station CBP

Officers seize 440 fake hand-sanitizing stations at International Falls port

If the items were legitimate, they would have been worth more than $1 million.

cbp hand messager

Officers seize more than 5,000 fake hand massagers at northern MN port

If the items were legitimate, they would have been worth more than $500,000.

fake cell phone cases

Fake phone accessories worth $41,500 seized in Minneapolis

U.S. Customs and Border Protection inspected the shipment from Hong Kong, which was addressed to a recipient in Minnesota.


Border officers seize more than $550K in counterfeit designer goods

The shipments of fake goods were seized on Jan. 22.