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Czech tried to smuggle snakes — among 247 other exotic animals — onto plane in Argentina

A Czech man trying to board a trans-Atlantic flight with 247 live animals, including poisonous snakes and endangered reptiles, has been arrested at Buenos Aires' Ezeiza Airport.
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A South American pitviper — this one, a poisonous Eyelash palm-pitviper, pictured at the serpentarium of the Clodomiro Picado Institute in Coronado, some 8 kilometers northwest of San Jose, Costa Rica. (Yuri Cortez/AFP/Getty Images)

A Czech man trying to board a trans-Atlantic flight with 247 live animals, including poisonous snakes and endangered reptiles, has been arrested at Buenos Aires' Ezeiza Airport.

The man, identified as Karel Abelovsky, 51, was trying to board an Iberia flight for Madrid when baggage X-ray technicians noticed "organic substances moving inside" his bulging suitcase, Agence France-Presse reported, citing local media.

More than 200 reptiles, among them 15 venomous vipers, including South American pitvipers, two yaras — an aggressive species that can grow up to five feet — and several young boas, were packed in clear plastic containers.

The Daily Mail reported that Abelovsky may have been part of an exotic animal smuggling ring.

As the AFP wrote:

Some of the animals were reported to be extremely rare and protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.

Two of the animals were found dead, likely from lack of oxygen.

The discovery was made on Dec. 7 but a judge only charged Abelovsky with smuggling this week. He faces 10 years in prison if convicted.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/weird-wide-web/snakes-plane-argentina-customs-buenos-aires-czech

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