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Americans accused of mailing body parts
01:15 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

DHL shipping office in Bangkok called police when body parts found in boxes to be sent to U.S.

Packages included an infant skull, internal organs, preserved in formaldehyde, police say

Police have talked to American who packed the shipment, but he's not charged with a crime

Infant body parts are used in some magic rituals in Thailand and are sold on black market

CNN  — 

Police in Thailand say an American tried to ship infant body parts to the United States, but the delivery was stopped after a call from the shipping company.

The bizarre discovery is not the first time infant remains have been found in Thailand. In 2010, more than 2,000 illegally aborted fetuses were recovered at a Buddhist temple in Bangkok.

Thai police say they received a phone call from a DHL shipping office in Pathum Thani province, on the outskirts of Bangkok, on Saturday. Police say workers there discovered the body parts inside parcel boxes as they were scanning shipments for delivery. The boxes contained an infant skull, internal organs and a few pieces of human skin, police say.

Police dispatched a forensics team to retrieve the three boxes, which contained the human parts sealed in plastic bags and preserved in formaldehyde.

DHL plane file

Police Col. Adisorn Semsawat, chief of Bang Pongpang police station, said, “We have talked with an American who was trying to send the parcels to the USA, but we could not press any charges on him and we are not quite sure which laws we can apply to him.”

Police went on to say that the unidentified American told them that he found the infant body parts at a night flea market and that he had paid about $100 for them, though he could not remember where the market is located. Police say they are trying to find the seller.

Thai police say they’ve been in touch with the U. S. Embassy and that the tourist’s name has not been revealed because he hasn’t committed any crimes or been formally charged.

Infant body parts can be bought on the Thai black market. Some Thais practice black magic and believe that supernatural power comes from infant body parts, if the rites are performed by monks or sorcerers. They believe that having the items provide protection and business success and can ward off bad luck.

Police say in 2010, the smell of decay led investigators to the Phai-nguern Chotinaram temple in central Bangkok, where they discovered more than 2,000 illegally aborted fetuses. Three people were arrested, including two morticians who were charged with hiding bodies.

CNN’s Kocha Olarn in Bangkok contributed to this report.