Police dismantle felony group trying to export $1.2 million value of Australian lizards to Hong Kong

A felony ring planning on exporting over one million {dollars} value of reside lizards and snakes to Hong Kong has been halted in response to NSW Police.

After 9 packages full of 59 reside lizards had been found in September 2023, the organised crime squad arrange a specialist taskforce to research unlawful native animal exports, assisted by Federal Division of Local weather Change, Vitality, the Setting and Water and NSW Division of Planning and Setting.

Their investigation has led to the arrest of 4 individuals accused of making an attempt to smuggle the animals into Hong Kong and the invention of a whole lot of reptiles, together with 257 lizards, which police imagine had been to be despatched abroad alive and offered for a mean of $5000 per animal.

With that worth, the group may anticipate to drag in round $1.2 million {dollars} from the animals, which police say had been stored in poor circumstances, with a number of animals allegedly crammed into small containers sure to be despatched within the submit abroad.

Following “in depth inquiries” officers arrested a 41-year-old girl and a 54-year-old man in separate raids in December final 12 months, charging them each with a number of counts of exporting a regulated native species with no allow, with the person additionally being charged with coping with the proceeds of crime over $100,000.

Subsequent search warrants at their addresses in Pendle Hill noticed police uncover 16 native lizards and eggs in a field addressed to Hong Kong, and an additional 60 lizards had been found in a storage room.

Police then stopped a automobile in Panania on December 29 earlier than arresting the 59-year-old male driver, who they charged with 13 offences together with 11 counts of trying to export a local species with no allow.

After his arrest, a search of a East Hills property uncovered 118 lizards, three snakes, eight eggs and 25 deceased lizards.

On January 5, police then arrested a 31-year-old man in East Hills, charging him with dealing or trying to deal in a protected animal, coping with the proceeds of crime over $100,000 and collaborating in a felony group.

A subsequent search of a Grenfell property noticed the invention of 4 extra lizards hidden in luggage.

Over the course of the investigation, police say they found 257 lizards and three snakes.

The animals have been taken to varied zoos and wildlife parks to be examined earlier than they’re launched into the wild.

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