China: Airport staff busted smuggling wildlife on flights.

Seven members of an international tortoise smuggling ring are going to jail after Chinese police caught one member in an airport with two sacks holding 316 tortoises. Ring members had been taking radiated turtles from their native Madagascar, wrapping them in tin foil to avoid X-ray detection, stuffing them on a flight, and flying them to China. The plan was to breed each new batch, and then sell the offspring for profit. It worked for a while, but apparently it’s not that easy hiding 316 shelled animals.

According to the  the smugglers had a full supply chain, from the people stealing tortoises in Madagascar to buyers lined up in cities like Guangxi and Beijing. Once the tortoises arrived in China, one smuggler would meet with another member — an airport employee — in a bathroom to hand off the illegal cargo. The employee used his credentials to sneak bags full of turtles past customs.

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Source: The Verge.

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