FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Airport baggage screeners found a human head with teeth, hair and skin in the luggage of a woman who said she intended to ward off evil spirits with it, authorities said Friday.
Myrlene Severe, 30, a Haitian-born permanent U.S. resident, was charged Friday with smuggling a human head into the U.S. without proper documentation.
Customs and Border Protection officials found the head Thursday, after Severe arrived at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on a Lynx International Airlines flight from Cap Haitien, Haiti, said Barbara Gonzalez, a spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Miami.
“It still had teeth, hair and bits of skin and lots of dirt,” Gonzalez said.
Severe told authorities she had obtained the package in Haiti for “use as a part of her voodoo beliefs,” ICE Special Agent Erick Hernandez wrote in an affidavit in support of a criminal complaint.
“Severe also stated that the purpose of the package was to ward off evil spirits,” Hernandez wrote.
Severe, who also was charged with failing to declare the head and transporting hazardous material in air commerce, faces a maximum of 15 years in prison if convicted of all charges, prosecutors said.
Severe remained held Friday in lieu of a $100,000 bond. She is due back in federal court March 2.