TOOELE, Utah — Over the past few weeks, people in Utah have been reporting mysterious packages they’ve been receiving in the mail from China.
Lori Culley, who lives in Tooele, said she was excited to find two small packages in her mailbox on Tuesday. Although most of the writing on the outside was in Chinese, the label indicated there would be earrings inside.
“I opened them up and they were seeds,” Culley said. “Obviously they’re not jewelry!”
Culley couldn’t understand why she would be receiving mislabeled seeds from China in the mail, but at first she didn’t think much of it.
She posted about the strange incident on Facebook, where some of her friends reminded her plants and seeds are strictly regulated in Utah.
FOX 13 has confirmed the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food will likely team up with Customs and Border Protection agents to investigate.
An employee with the Utah Department of Agriculture picked up the seeds within a few hours of learning about the incident.
Culley said she was surprised to learn the same thing has happened to “at least 40 people” who either publicly commented or privately responded to her post. Most of them live in Tooele.
Now Culley wonders how many people might have been so curious about the seeds that they decided to plant them.
“There was an article that I found in the UK saying this has been happening over there, and they are bad seeds, they are invasive,” Culley said. “I hope that it’s nothing too serious… don’t throw them in the garbage. Don’t plant them. Don’t touch them.”
Employees with the Utah Department of Agriculture encouraged anyone who received mysterious seeds in the mail to please give them a call so they can pick up the mail for further investigation.
“I mean there’s even a possibility it could be a drug or something!” Culley said. “It just smells – it doesn’t sound right.”
The Better Business Bureau is planting a different idea.
Jane Rupp, president of BBB’s Utah chapter, told FOX 13 the incidents could just be a scam known as “brushing” where some companies will send you a product so they can post a fake review in your name.
“That is rather random. I don’t think I’ve heard of seeds before,” Rupp said. “The first thing to do is Google your address and see what’s out there… Numerous things will come up when you Google your address. It’s kind of scary sometimes.”
“Hopefully that’s all it is, but why?” Culley said. “We just can’t be too vigilant. We have to. There’s too much crazy stuff going on in our world anymore, and a lot of it’s coming from China.”