This message is for all missionary mums, dads, family and friends...in fact it is well worth everyone taking note. So please pass it around.
Betty Pearson, from the LDS Missionary Moms Email Group, just circulated an email amongst the mums. It was a warning on the dangers of concealing certain items in packages to our missionaries.
While it may seem extreme to some, it is well worth remembering that there are often items that many countries do not permit within their borders. Indeed, if some items are sent (which to us might appear quite innocent) they could result in legal action against, or worse jail for, the missionary.
For example, did you know it is illegal to post photos to anyone in Italy? Crazy, huh? But try it and they will most likely be confiscated by customs officials before they reach your missionaries mailbox.
I have copied below the information that Betty passed on to us. So please take heed, and be very careful about what you send. I have included information below that will help you determine if something is ok to send.
Email to all LDS Missionary Moms (Dated 7th June, 2012):
Never, ever, hide anything in packages! No more hiding stuff in PopTart packages, or other clever “disguises” to get important, or even “treat-ish” stuff past…customs officials. Why? Because Customs in many countries– with more all the time–have high-tech equipment to scan your packages without ever opening them. Just like carry-on luggage at the airports, they can see everything in the package. Yes, Superman vision. Used to prevent terrorism.
This is a warning to ALL of you!
Here is what happened last week:
A concerned missionary mom mailed a package to her missionary son, and because she wasn’t certain the non-prescription allergy meds, which her son really needed, would clear customs, she hid it in a stuffed animal. The package was scanned by Customs. The police were alerted, and they wanted to arrest the missionary and put him in jail to be charged. There was an interrogation, and the missionary was finally cleared.
Pay strict attention to the words of the Mission President who contacted us:
“This IS ‘smuggling’ and is extremely serious. Penalties include, deportation and in most cases jail time. The American government can’t do anything for 21 days to help if you are jailed. I don’t think any of us relish the thought of our children being jailed with hardened criminals. Customs will not just throw away the item, they will prosecute your child. It’s like yelling bomb in an airport. No one takes that as a joke. If you are extremely lucky (which is rare) you will be fined. It will take people away from their mission to deal with the problem. It will cost a large sum of money to travel to the customs office at the airport which may be out of the mission boundaries. Interrogation of the missionary will last all day, no one will be allowed to be with them. All of the fines and costs will be the responsibility of the perpetrator. The Area authorities will be involved due to the serious nature of the matter. Some will worry about possible national press coverage. It will cause great embarrassment to the family and the church. There are many ramifications from this seemingly harmless act. “Oh be wise, what can I say more.”
Heed this warning, pass it along to relatives and others who might be mailing packages–even in the U.S.
Do NOT try to mail illegal items. Please go to USPS.com and find the country where you want to ship a package, and their list of items they will not allow in their country.
Pay attention when the postal clerk asks you if the package contains anything flammable, etc. You wouldn’t want to end up in jail for mailing illegal items.
If you are sending a package internationally, below is the USPS website listing of all countries. Click on the country and you will see prohibitions, restrictions, and sizes and weight limits.
United States Postal Service - Individual Country Listing
Here is a listing of U.S. prohibitions and restrictions:
UPS Postal Service within the US – Can You Ship It?
Not sure if what you’re sending is hazardous or prohibited and you are sending from the US? Just call 1-800-ASK-USPS. For others, call your local Post Office and they should be able to advise you.
Many household items can’t go in the mail. Hazardous materials come in a wide variety of forms and can be chemical, biological, radioactive, or a combination. Find out what is restricted and what is prohibited.
If you have any questions then contact me and I will endeavor to answer them.
Please pass this along to anyone you might know who currently has a missionary serving.