Remember, Proper Paperwork Through Customs is Important
(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.