Unsolicited packages of seeds have shown up in residents’ mail across the United States, and officials believe they came from China.
Many of these mystery parcels were mislabeled as jewelry and had Chinese writing on them. They’ve shown up in mailboxes in a growing number of states in recent days, including Kansas, Utah, Arizona, and Ohio, according to USA Today.
The Kansas State Department of Agriculture is advising residents not to plant these seeds, as they could be invasive species. “Invasive species wreak havoc on the environment, displace or destroy native plants and insects and severely damage crops,” the department said in a press release. Officials also said to avoid opening the packages if they are still sealed.
Police in Whitehouse, Ohio believe the seeds could be part of a “brushing” scam in which an online vendor sends unsolicited packages to someone in order to leave product reviews on that person’s behalf to boost the credibility of their online store.
Officials in the Washington State Department of Agriculture believe the seeds could be part of an agricultural smuggling scheme.