Woman smuggles human head
A Haitian national who packed a skull in her suitcase on a flight to Florida's Fort Lauderdale airport was charged Friday with "smuggling a human head."india Updated: Feb 14, 2006 18:34 IST
A Haitian national who packed a skull in her suitcase on a flight to Florida's Fort Lauderdale airport was charged Friday with "smuggling a human head."
US prosecutors said they also charged Florida resident Myrlene Severe, who was arrested on Thursday, with failing to declare the head on a customs declaration form and transporting hazardous material. The skull had "organic matter" on it, they said.
"Severe stated that she had obtained the package, which contained the human head, from a male in Haiti for use as a part of her voodoo beliefs," the US attorney for the Southern District of Florida said in a statement.
"Severe also stated that the purpose of the package was to ward off evil spirits," the US attorney's office added.
While 80 percent of Haiti's 8.5 million people are Roman Catholic and 16 percent Protestant, more than half also say they practice voodoo, an Afro-Caribbean religion whose roots go back 6,000 years or more in Africa.
Each of the charges carries a maximum punishment of five years in prison.
It was unclear who Severe's attorney was, but the prosecutor's office said bail was set at $100,000 during an initial appearance before US Magistrate Judge Lurana Snow in Fort Lauderdale, and Severe would be arraigned on March 2.