A 56-year-old woman arriving to the Twin Cities from Laos has been charged for allegedly trying to smuggle parts of an Asian elephant and several dead birds into Minnesota, federal authorities said Wednesday.
According to an indictment filed Wednesday after being returned by a federal grand jury, Seng Her of St. Paul tried to conceal the birds and elephant parts because she knew they would not be allowed into the United States.
The Asian elephant is on the list of endangered species, and the birds require proper permits because avian flu exists in Laos.
Authorities said Her was stopped at the Twin Cities airport on Nov. 28, 2007. It took two years for her to be charged because investigators had to send the elephant parts to a lab that could analyze its DNA to confirm it was an Asian elephant. With the confirmation, investigators were able to pursue charges under endangered species laws.