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Man smuggles 90 exotic animals in suitcase

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Man smuggles 90 exotic animals in suitcase
One of the rescued tortoises. Photo: Zollamt/DPA
10:44 CEST+02:00
Customs officials at Frankfurt Airport have discovered 90 exotic animals in a suitcase, including 55 tortoises, 30 lizards and an iguana. Some were endangered species and died during the journey.

A 44-year-old Mexican man was arrested at the airport on Friday after attempting to smuggle 55 tortoises, 30 arboreal alligator lizards, four horned vipers and one spiny-tailed iguana in a single suitcase.

The man was travelling from Mexico City to Barcelona and was transferring in Frankfurt. But his trip was cut short when customs officials discovered the animals when they X-rayed his suitcase.

The snakes were kept in two knotted pairs of women's tights, while the lizards were held in canvas bags and packed in boxes.  

CLICK HERE to see some of the animals

The creatures were valued between €50,000 and €60,000. A spokesman at the Customs Agency told The Local that at least three of the animals have since died, one during the journey, and two others while attempting to be brought back to health at a nearby zoo.

It was found that a pregnant arboreal alligator lizard had also laid eggs during the flight. 

"Perhaps once or twice a year we discover live animals in a suitcase like this," the customs spokesman said.  "Occasionally passengers attempt to carry animals on their person. We recently discovered a young woman carrying a parrot egg in her pocket."

The animals are now being cared for and the man is under investigation for violating the Animal Welfare Act and the Endangered Species Act.

SEE ALSO: Flamingos beheaded at Frankfurt Zoo

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