Submission of Property to the National Wildlife Property Repository

448 FW 3
FWM Number
Originating Office
Office of Law Enforcement

3.1 What is the purpose of this chapter? This chapter provides Service officers guidance on the proper way to package and ship forfeited and abandoned wildlife property to the National Wildlife Property Repository (Repository) in Commerce City, Colorado. Proper handling of wildlife property is necessary to ensure that the Repository receives items without damage.

3.2 What are the authorities for this chapter? The authorities for this chapter are:

A. 16 U.S.C.

B. 446 DM, Law Enforcement.

3.3 What documents do officers need to include when they send property to the Repository?

A. Officers must use a Property Transfer form (Form 3-2329) to send property that is associated with a case. If the Property Transfer form consists of more then one page, officers must number each page sequentially. They should not use the Chain of Custody form. They must include the following information:

(1) Submitting officer’s Region by number.

(2) Submitting officer’s State by two-letter code.

(3) Name, address, telephone number, and fax number of the sender.

(4) Shipping date.

(5) Description of the property, including quantity, item, and species (for example, 2 leopard skin coats).

     (a) When describing property, officers should separate items by species and convert pairs into items (for example, 10 pairs of snake skin boots should be listed as 8 python boots, 4 cobra boots, and 8 water snake boots).

     (b) Avoid identifying property quantities by weight or by container, if possible, (for example, do not identify as 10 lbs. of raw coral or 3 bags of hawk feathers). Count all items if possible. For items that cannot be counted, such as coral sand, caviar, or down feathers, it is acceptable to identify quantities by weight using metric units.

     (c) When describing property, officers should separate property by type of item (for example, 6 pieces of sea turtle jewelry should be listed as 3 sea turtle necklaces and 3 sea turtle bracelets). This practice allows verification of items and bar coding.

(6) Indication of whether the item was forfeited (“F”) or abandoned (“A”).

(7) Seizure tag number (Form 3-487) and investigative case (INV) number.

(8) Value of property submitted. The value should match the seized value in the Law Enforcement Management Information System (LEMIS) or appropriate investigative case tracking system.

(9) When describing property, officers should use the scientific name by genus and species. If the genus and species are unknown, officers should use the lowest taxonomic level possible.

(10) When describing property, officers should indicate the nature of any damage to the property, if applicable.

B. Officers must include a Property Transfer form in each box that describes the contents of the box. Officers may submit one Property Transfer form for multiple boxes and place a copy of the form in each box highlighting the specific items contained in that particular box

C. The Repository will only accept responsibility for property received and will not certify receipt of property in advance. The Repository will sign the Property Transfer form, assign a bar code for tracking purposes, and return the form to the submitting officer after it receives and inventories the property. Officers should contact the Repository if they require expedited return of the form. The Repository will contact the shipper of the property by telephone to discuss discrepancies

3.4 How do officers package and ship wildlife property?

A. General Packing and Shipping Guidelines. To prevent damage, officers should follow the general guidelines below and the guidance in 448 FW 1.5 through 1.11 when sending property to the Repository:

(1) Officers must not ship property that has been infested with insects. Officers should destroy these items.

(2) Select an appropriately sized box to hold the number of items being shipped.

(3) Attach seizure tags to the property.

(4) Wrap fragile or breakable items in bubble wrap or newspaper.

(5) Line the bottom of the box with packing peanuts, bubble wrap, or newspaper.

(6) Do not mix large, heavy items with small, fragile items. Send fragile items separately to avoid crushing or breaking.

(7) Do not ship human remains to the Property Repository.

(8) Use plastic zip-lock bags for large quantities of small items, such as jewelry.

(9) Officers do not need to ship nonperishable items by overnight mail. The submitting officer should track the shipment.

B. Guidelines for Packing and Shipping Perishable Items. Officers must notify the Repository before shipping perishable property and indicate when and how the property will be shipped. Officers should wear proper personal protective equipment for handling property that may be contaminated. Officers should follow the guidelines below to ship perishable property:

(1) For property that might decay, freeze it for shipping.

(2) Place property in double plastic bags to prevent leakage.

(3) Ship property in a sturdy box or hard shell cooler. The Repository will return coolers on request.

(4) Line the bottom of the box and fill the remaining space with packing peanuts or bubble wrap to prevent damage and reduce thawing. Pack with shredded paper to absorb any leakage.

(5) Use blue ice packs. The Repository will return them on request.

(6) Ship packages by overnight mail. The officer who ships the property should track the shipment.