NEWS

Canadian man caught trying to smuggle 1,007 turtles to China

10/03/2014 06:34 EDT | Updated 12/03/2014 05:59 EST
A Canadian man was arrested at a Detroit, Michigan airport trying to smuggle more than 1,000 turtles to China.

The man was allegedly caught trying to board a plane to Shanghai last week. 

The turtles were stuffed into rubber snow boots and cereal boxes inside his luggage.

US authorities found 1,007 turtles — the majority juvenile hatchlings less than a month old — including more than 750 diamondback terrapins, red-necked pond turtles, spotted turtles, wood turtles, Blanding’s turtles, red-eared sliders and African spur-thighed tortoises, in the man's luggage.

The turtles were sent to the Detroit Zoo. 

"It isn't surprising that some are not doing well given the way they were smuggled," said Scott Carter with the Detroit Zoo. "Most are not of conservation concern, but some are endangered species."

Authorities believe the man is part of an alleged smuggling ring connected to another Canadian man caught at the border in August trying to smuggle turtles inside his pants.

In that case, a man was found with 51 turtles strapped to his body trying to enter Canada through the Detroit-Windsor tunnel in early August.

The man was found with a variety of Eastern box turtles, Red-eared sliders and Diamondback Terrapins taped to his body.

He's facing U.S. charges of smuggling goods, trade in endangered species and exporting wildlife. He's also facing Canadian charges of smuggling. 

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