Remember, Proper Paperwork Through Customs is Important

Oth­er­wise, you make head­lines for stuff like this.

(Yeah, I don’t miss things like this from my Kohler days…)

Inves­ti­ga­tors are work­ing to deter­mine if a ship­ment of 18 human heads inter­cepted by cus­toms offi­cials at O’Hare Air­port are, in fact, legit­i­mate med­ical spec­i­mens, author­i­ties said Tues­day morning.

The heads, which was sent to Chicago from out­side the U.S., were dis­cov­ered Mon­day by U.S. Cus­toms offi­cials and appear to be med­ical sam­ples at first blush, said Brian Bell, a Chicago-based spokesman for the Depart­ment of Home­land Security.

There’s no issue with the trans­porta­tion of body parts for med­ical pur­poses,” Bell said. “There’s noth­ing against the law that says you can­not ship them, pro­vided you have the right documentation.”

While Bell said he has never before fielded ques­tions about a large pack­age of human body parts, such ship­ments are not with­out prece­dent, he noted.

Every­body here is ‘Oh my gosh, you got a box of heads’ and every­body thinks that it’s unheard of,” Bell said. “It is a poten­tially legit­i­mate med­ical ship­ment. We’ve seen it at var­i­ous ports in the nation.”

Bell declined to say where the pack­age was shipped from, where its des­ti­na­tion is, or how the heads were pack­aged and preserved.

The spec­i­mens, which are still cov­ered in skin, were sent to the Cook County Med­ical Examiner’s office for inspec­tion, author­i­ties said. Inves­ti­ga­tors believe foul play was not a fac­tor in the col­lec­tion of the heads.

Sources tell FOX 32 News that they came from Italy, and may have been sent to be used for some kind of sci­en­tific research or a med­ical experiment.

Yes, you can indeed ship body parts — and a whole body too — through any­thing that is related to U.S. Cus­toms.  Muse­ums have miles worth of paper­work to do if they’re bring­ing in any mum­mi­fied remains for any Ancient Egypt­ian exhibits.

Most med­ical prod­ucts are under Sec­tion VI of the U.S. Har­mo­nized Sched­ule.  How­ever, human remains aren’t just about hav­ing the right tar­iff code, they’re about hav­ing the right paper­work.  This is an embar­rass­ment for whichever med­ical school or museum ordered what is in all like­li­hood cadaver heads.

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