Twenty raw chickens were seized from a Vietnamese man at Washington Dulles International Airport last week, officials said.
The man arrived at Dulles from Vietnam on April 22 with the chickens in a cooler that the man claimed as baggage. The small birds were intact, defeathered and had skin and feet that were dark-bluish-grey to blackened, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials said.
Generally, people cannot import without a permit from the U.S. Department of Agriculture raw poultry from regions where avian flu or other fowl diseases are known to occur into the United States, officials said. After the fowl were discovered by CBP agriculture specialists, the chickens were seized and incinerated.
The man was allowed to continue on without any civil penalties because it was unclear whether he knew that he couldn't bring the chickens into the country. No Vietnamese-speaking interpreters were available at the time of the incident, CBP spokesman Steve Sapp said.
The chickens are not the only items that CBP has seized in the region in the past few weeks. On April 25, authorities took several pieces of prohibited African elephant ivory jewelry from a 57-year-old Nigerian man at Thurgood Marshall Baltimore-Washington International Airport. Officials said that the man was allowed to continue his trip once the jewelry was detained.