Man caught at airport smuggling x-ray found 250 snakes in a suitcase

man arrested in Airport

A man attempted to board a plane in Argentina with approximately 250 poisonous snakes and endangered reptiles in his baggage, each carefully labelled with its Latin name.

Czech citizen Karel Abelovsky, 51, was on the way to Spain when airport officials made him open his luggage at Buenos Aires international airport after police recognize the reptiles in the X-ray scanner.

They detect 247 exotic and rare species in all, packed inside plastic containers, bags and even socks.

Authorities believe the Czech was a messenger for a criminal organization that smuggles exotic species whose exports are banned. Authorities said Abelovsky arrived in Argentina only days earlier and wouldn't have had time to collect all the animals.

Judge Marcelo Aguinsky believes the boa constrictors, poisonous pit vipers and coral snakes, lizards and spiders could have get away the cloth suitcase in the unpressurised cabin of the December 7 Iberia flight to Madrid, and maybe attacked people there or at his final destination in Prague, where antidotes for South American snakes aren't common, the source added.

Abelovsky was released on around $US2,500 ($A2,468) bail after surrendering his passport and is refusing to talk even though he faces up to 10 years in prison.

Abelovsky runs a Czech-website that offers reptiles for sale. A woman who responds the contact number given on the site said she was his wife but did not give her name and said only that her husband was normal.

Czech authorities have no information about Abelovsky, said Martina Kankova, spokeswoman for Czech customs administration. She said authorities have traced various people or broken rings of smugglers of several exotic animals in recent years, as well as turtles and parrots.

Czech television described before this year that in 2010, customs officials in the country detained 55 smugglers with dozens of exotic animals.

Most of the animals and bugs are being held under quarantine at the Buenos Aires Zoo, whereas some of the venomous snakes were sent to Argentina's national health institute, which has a high security department where scientists develop-antidotes using venom from snakes.

The species include lizards native to Mexico and snakes, spiders, snails and other species from northern Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil. Some were already dead in the bag, while others have succumbed to stress since next. Many were quite weak on arrival at the zoo, but the majority is still alive.

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