Golden Gates Estates man receives mystery package from China

Reporter: Taylor Smith Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
Image of seed packet from China received in the mail in the United States. This is not the package received by Mitch Wood in Golden Gate Estates. Credit: via Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Mysterious packages from China are popping up across the country. A man in Southwest Florida says he got one in the mail with a mysterious substance inside. The state recently warned Floridians no to open suspicious packages full of seeds, and it has more guidelines if this happens to you.

Mitch Wood in Golden Gate Estates received an unexpected delivery from China in the mail recently.

“It looks almost like a fish, a small fish. It’s like an inch long, brown, gooey-looking thing,” Wood said. “Luckily, it’s not leaking at all, and I can’t smell anything from it.”

“It had my wife’s name on it, a weird phone number with an area code that wasn’t even the one with the extension on it, and then shippers information from Shenzhen,” Wood said.

Sunday, Wood opened a package from China.

“I mean, we do order a ton of stuff online,” Wood said. “so I wasn’t surprised to see something from China.”

But, this time, it was a package he did not order.

“The first thing I did was opened up the garbage and dropped it in a bag and washed my hands,” Wood said. “Put on some gloves and zipped it up and then put it in my shed because I didn’t want it in the house.”

The shipping title said “wire connector” and had the numbers two out of 179.

The state sent out a release, asking Floridians to report suspicious seed packets or mysterious packages like the one Wood received from China.

“I’m not surprised that it was local, but I just happen to be the random one who got it,” Wood said.

Wood reached out to the U.S. Postal service inspection and is sending it in to be investigated.

The state warns anyone who gets one of these packages not to open it and report it.

What To Do: Anyone receiving unsolicited packages from other countries should follow these directions:

  • Do not open the seed packet and avoid opening outer packaging or mailing materials, if possible
  • Place the seed packet AND mailing materials into a sealable plastic bag – this is important to determining the origin of the seeds.
  • Do not plant the seeds or discard them in trash that will be landfilled
  • UNOPENED PACKAGES and packages containing objects OTHER THAN SEEDS: report immediately to the USDA Anti-Smuggling hotline at 1-800-877-3835 or
  • OPENED PACKAGES containing seeds: report to the FDACS Division of Plant Industry online at Package recipients can either drop off the package at their local UF/IFAS Extension county office, or schedule a safe, contactless pickup of the seeds, packaging, and mailing materials by an FDACS Inspector
  • Recipients with questions other than seed reporting can contact the Division of Plant Industry at 1-888-397-1517 or

When reporting the seed package to FDACS and USDA/APHIS, the state says to be prepared to complete a simple form and provide one’s name, physical address, phone number and email address for contact and seed collection purposes.

MORE: USDA Investigates Packages of Unsolicited Seeds from China

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