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Q: Strange and Bizarre Black Market and/or Smuggling items ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   6 Comments )
Subject: Strange and Bizarre Black Market and/or Smuggling items
Category: Reference, Education and News > General Reference
Asked by: carlo99-ga
List Price: $4.50
Posted: 12 Mar 2006 15:02 PST
Expires: 11 Apr 2006 16:02 PDT
Question ID: 706482
I am looking for a list of strange, bizarre, unique, unusual black
market merchandise or items that are smuggled into the states. This is
for a story I am writing. Not looking for the usual stuff (cocaine,
marijuana, pirated DVD & CDS) nor exotic animals, terrorist stuff or
human trafficing (some of which are already included in the story).
You may speculate; it doesn't matter if the items are actually on the
black market or being smuggled, just that they make for an interesting
subject matter. Something rare or extremely hip, something in high
demand, something "sexy", a knockoff of a major brand perhaps, or
something dangerous and not easily available. Think Cuban cigars, but
even more rare and unusual.  Something that would be
interesting if a man walked into your livingroom and opened a box and
offered them for sale. Find a list or make one up. Surprise me with
your answers. Thank you.
Subject: Re: Strange and Bizarre Black Market and/or Smuggling items
Answered By: cynthia-ga on 21 Mar 2006 09:10 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hi carlo,

I got carried away and spent waaaay too much time on this!  What fun! 
I found more items for you, but I must admit, none is as exotic as


Food and drink to die for ... well, nearly,,632-2041862,00.html
..."He sought époisses because it is banned in the US under
regulations that prevent the import of raw-milk cheeses that have aged
less than 60 days. He regards this as ridiculous, pointing out that E.
coli in hamburger meat and listeria in all-American hot dogs have
killed hundreds, while the listeria deaths linked to époisses were
ultimately traced to a pasteurised version of the cheese..."

..."Americans can't use raw sugar, because its sale is banned in the
U.S. due to diverse and unpredictable impurities (bacteria, molds,
heavy metals, rat excrement, insect parts, etc.). The so-called "raw"
sugar (also known as turbinado) common in third-world countries and
marketed by health food stores is actually refined by the same process
as white sugar, but without removing all of the molasses and other
non-sugar components..."

..."Although coca-leaf tea is a popular beverage and folk remedy for
altitude sickness in Peru, possession of these tea bags, which are
sold in most Peruvian supermarkets, is illegal in the United

A marvelous Coca Tea from Bolivia


Tibetan Antelope Conservation and the Shahtoosh Trade
..."The only way to obtain shahtoosh is to kill the chiru -- three to
five dead antelope yield sufficient wool for one shawl. The chiru are
skinned and the raw shahtoosh is collected and smuggled to India,
where it is manufactured into shawls in the state of Jammu and
Kashmir, the only location in the world where shahtoosh possession and
manufacture are officially legalized. Shahtoosh products are then
illegally transported to fashion capitals worldwide, where they sell
for $2,000-$8,000, and occasionally for up to $15,000 or
more.....Although the import of shahtoosh is illegal in the U.S.,
internal trade still needs improved regulation and enforcement..."

AMNERGRIS: (included because it is very unusual)

Beachcombers strike gold with whale 'vomit'
January 24, 2006 11:15 AM PST
They say that one man's trash is another man's treasure. But in this
case, one whale's bile is man's perfume.

Ambergris is a fatty excrement spewed by whales, and it can float for
years in the ocean before washing ashore. The foul-smelling bile can
solidify over years, soaking up the sun and ocean breeze to eventually
turn into a sweet, smooth lump of perfume. In fact, it is used as an
ingredient for perfumes and medicines...[According to a report from
the BBC, the couple will net $295,000 from the discovery.].....Still,
ambergris is banned in the United States under endangered species


Almonds are Healthy
..."Raw bitter almonds contain traces of lethal prussic acid: though
the toxicity is destroyed when heated, the sale of bitter almonds is
banned in the U.S.  However, processed bitter almonds flavor syrups,
extracts, and liqueurs..."


Laetrile Crackdown,10987,947722,00.html
..."Of the thousands of Americans who visit the seedy Mexican border
town of Tijuana each year, many aim not to live it up, but simply to
live. For more than a decade, one of Tijuana's busiest spas has been a
clinic operated by Dr. Ernesto Contreras Rodriguez, 60, who, in the
eyes of his patients, offers that most elusive of medical miracles: a
cancer cure. The heart of his treatment, a drug called Laetrile, is
banned in the U.S. and Canada as a phony remedy; but it is perfectly
legal in Mexico, where Contreras has administered it to some 35,000
often desperate cancer victims..."

And just because I ran across them:


Ten years of therapy in one night,,1045038,00.html
..."Could a single trip on a piece of African rootbark help a junkie
kick the habit? That was the claim in the 1960s, and now iboga is back
in the spotlight. But is it a miracle cure? Daniel Pinchbeck decided
to give it a go. And life, he says, will never be the same again..."


Illegal Sale of Turtle Hatchlings in the US
From Lianne McLeod
..."The sale or distribution of turtles with a carapace length of less
than 4 inches has been banned in the US since 1975 (Title 21 CFR
1240.62). The ban was brought into effect under the Public Health
Services Act by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to address the
problem of Salmonella infections in children. Prior to the ban there
were an estimated 250,000 cases of Salmonellosis in children and
infants that were associated with pet turtles in the US..."

Potential Pets or Potent Pests?
..."According to APHIS, in the 1960s a boy smuggled in 3 of the snails
into Florida, and these were subsequently released. Within seven years
there were an estimated 18,000 of the creatures in the wild and it
took 10 years and over a million dollars to eradicate them
all.....giant African land snails are indeed illegal in the US and are
considered a serious agricultural pest..."

In the USA, Giant African Snails are strictly prohibited from entering
the United States and they will be removed when discovered..."

Be sure to come back and let us know what you select!


Search terms used at Google:
"banned in the US" 
"smuggled into the US OR United States" 
exotic unusual strange
carlo99-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $1.00
Cynthia, these are fantastic answers!  All very exotic and interesting
- really, exactly what I was looking for. I have been offline and only
now recieved your answers which I thoroughly enjoy. Thank you!

Subject: Re: Strange and Bizarre Black Market and/or Smuggling items
From: myoarin-ga on 12 Mar 2006 17:43 PST
Antique artifacts that it is illegal to remove from the site found and country.
These can be stone carvings and metal artifacts from Cambodia, Central
America, Turkey, Greece, probably other Mediterranean countries;
sculptures, etc. stolen from European (especially Italian) churches,
as well as other works of art.
I expect that icons from Russian and other Orthodox countries could
find a market for smugglers.
Remember the scandal about the Getty Museum:
Subject: Re: Strange and Bizarre Black Market and/or Smuggling items
From: denco-ga on 12 Mar 2006 17:52 PST
Howdy carlo99-ga,

Absinthe, here described on the Wikipedia website.

"According to US Customs, 'The importation of Absinthe and any other liquors
or liqueurs that contain Artemisia absinthium is prohibited.'"

Very sexy, extremely hip stuff.

Looking Forward, denco-ga - Google Answers Researcher
Subject: Re: Strange and Bizarre Black Market and/or Smuggling items
From: frde-ga on 13 Mar 2006 02:33 PST
Chinese favourites - tiger bone, rhinoceros horn

Bush meat for diplomats with a hankering for home.

New ivory, bits of endangered species, New Guinea shrunken heads

In very bad taste, 'snuff' DVDs

A load of very good knock offs of 'limited edition' watches.
Forged Kruger Rands or UK Sovereigns.

Knock offs of really expensive cosmetics.

Given the overfishing, caviar.

Experimental pharmaceuticals, an Egyptian guy, in the UK, was using a
form of Flu virus as a delivery agent for cancer treatment.
More mudanely Viagra, TamiFlu, there is a hard to get Malaria drug...

Simply a few pre-release IPods swiped from the production line.
Cloned SIMs for mobiles.
Blank credit cards with a 'programmer' and stamp.
Subject: Re: Strange and Bizarre Black Market and/or Smuggling items
From: carlo99-ga on 13 Mar 2006 07:54 PST
Dear myoarin-ga, denco-ga, &  frde-ga:

Excellent responses! Exactly the type of thing I was looking for.
Thanks for your generous, inspired comments!
Subject: Re: Strange and Bizarre Black Market and/or Smuggling items
From: frde-ga on 13 Mar 2006 23:59 PST

I'm awaiting the book with anticipation.

Incidentally, if Dan Brown loses that court case, then it is going to
be dodgy using Gurgle for ideas - all postings here are copyrighted by
them :-}
Subject: Re: Strange and Bizarre Black Market and/or Smuggling items
From: cynthia-ga on 03 May 2006 02:20 PDT

Thanks so much for the kind words, the 5 stars and the tip!

Will your story be published?  Please return and Comment or Clarify as
to where I can find your story in the future. It sounds interesting!

You can post a reply as late as March 10th -2007, one calendar year
after your original post.


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