Airport smugglers arrested after police find suitcases full of exotic snakes and lizards following a flight
Airport workers were baffled after they discovered passengers had smuggled two suitcases full of exotic snakes and lizards onto a flight.
A total of 16 reptiles were seized by customs after being found stowed away in a bag of toys and locked in a suitcase.
The two pythons and 14 lizards were discovered in luggage at Chennai International Airport, in eastern India.
A suitcase carrying the reptiles had just landed on a flight from Kuala Lumpar, in Malaysia, on a Batik Airways flight.
Mohammad Parvaez, 36 and Mohammad Akbar, 28, were arrested.
The pair were caught in the act by the Air Intelligence Unit (AIU), who intercepted the pair as they collected their illegal luggage in Chennai, officials said.
Their suitcases contained seven reptile species in total - two pythons native to Australia and more than a dozen lizards native to Papua New Guinea and the Philippines.
Customs officers found the reptiles locked away in a yellow bag inside their suitcases on Thursday (October 10).
According to police, the pair got their hands on the reptiles outside Kuala Lumpur airport and were apparently told to hand them over to someone outside Chennai airport.
A vet was called to check on the condition of the reptiles and they were recommended for return to their native countries.
The reptiles seized were a green tree python, a scrub python, both native to Australia, two black tree monitor lizards, five emerald tree monitor lizards, two blue spotted tree monitor lizards, a reisinger tree monitor lizard, and four sailfin Lizards.
A police investigation is ongoing.