WWI German weaponry seized at Charleston port
U.S. Customs and Border Protection investigators seized 13 pieces of German World War I military relics coming from Europe through the Port of Charleston.
Now they head to Oklahoma for display in an army museum.
Customs and Border Protection investigators found inert artillery casings, projectiles and fuses, plus an inert artillery collar that screws on to the projectile, in a January shipment arriving in Charleston from the United Kingdom. Authorities estimated the value of the confiscated equipment at $2,000.
The importer told customs agents that he wanted the objects as relics, yet they violated Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives regulations.
Customs and Border Protection officials made sure the equipment was safe to store, and soon heard from the director and curator of the U.S. Army Artillery Museum in Fort Sill, Okla. The museum already includes German World War I artillery pieces that matched the ammunition seized.
The confiscated artillery items will add to the collection on public display.
Customs and Border Protection spokesman Steve Switzer said the importer lives out of state and collects relics, possibly as a business. Switzer declined to comment on how his agency is connected with the museum.
“It is important to note that we would rather see the items be used for public viewing as historical artifacts, rather than be destroyed,” Switzer said.