Receiving a surprise package in the mail is always exciting. It is hard to imagine a world without a postal system. What would the world do without Amazon? While everyone appreciates the postal service, there are some pretty unsavory ways in which the postal service has been abused. For example, illicit drugs and other illegal items are often transported around the world through mail. Sometimes, people may even put postal workers in danger by sending packages containing dangerous materials to certain destinations. Some criminals even rely on the postal service to carry out their malevolent plans. Ted Kaczynski, for instance, used the postal service to send bombs to various locations, and it was not that long ago that US authorities panicked over an abundance of letters containing anthrax destined to arrive at certain government offices. Just recently, one man was arrested for using the postal service as a method for smuggling illegal animals into his home. Sending animals through the mail may sound like a difficult undertaking, but when the animals are scorpions and other creepy-crawlies, such an undertaking might seem possible, at least that is what one person thought. An American man has recently been arrested after having smuggled exotic insects and arachnids across the world numerous times.
A New Jersey resident, Wlodzimie Lapkiewicz, has been charged with smuggling illegal vertebrates into America from Africa. These vertebrates include centipedes, giant millipedes, several spider species and most alarmingly, emperor scorpions. Lapkiewicz has been selling these exotic arthropods on Facebook for quite some time. He offers interested consumers scorpions for $70, spiders for $50, and various centipedes and millipedes for anywhere between $5 and $60.
This is not the man’s first time importing illegal wildlife, as an incident that occured three years ago involved a mailman almost sustaining a sting from one of Lapkiewicz emperor scorpions after it escaped from his package. Last June, authorities in Indiana seized a package destined for Lapkiewicz that contained five giant millipedes. Last July, customs officials discovered a whopping 245 orchid mantids in one of Lapkiewicz’s packages. Lapkiewicz was served with a warning for these illegal acts, but now it seems that the authorities have lost their patience with his postal shenanigans.
Have you ever ordered a pet arachnid or insect through the mail?