DETROIT – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in the Port of Detroit announced the donation of hundreds of seized pre-historic fossils to the University of Michigan after they were intercepted at the Ambassador Bridge on March 2011.
A CBP officer working at a primary lane encountered two Canadian citizens who claimed they were attending a fossil trade show in Illinois. The two travelers had several boxes containing over 1,100 fossils. Secondary inspection revealed that the fossils were actually for sale and the individuals did not properly declare their goods.
The fossils were seized and a lengthy forfeiture process ensued. Though the individuals were afforded the opportunity to pay associated penalties, CBP forfeited the merchandise because both violators did not respond to CBP efforts to assist them in reclaiming their property.
“This interception is an excellent example of CBP’s commitment at our ports of entry to the surrounding community. CBP not only stopped the illegal entry, but was able to contribute to the University of Michigan,” said Roderick Blanchard, Detroit port director. “This seizure highlights the diversity of the CBP mission.”
The fossil donation will be used for research and/or teaching by the University of Michigan Paleontology Department, which maintains a repository for fossil specimens.