Police seized 102 endangered turtles and 17 pythons from a truck driving through Kandal province on Monday, arresting the two drivers for attempting to smuggle the animals to Vietnam, officials said on Tuesday.
Officers from the Interior Ministry’s anti-economic crime police department stopped the truck in Kien Svay district after an investigation by undercover police, according to Long Sreng, the department’s chief.
“One hundred and two mountain turtles and 17 pythons were confiscated by economic police from the Ministry of Interior from a smuggling truck on the way to Vietnam on Tuesday at 5 p.m. on National Route 1,” Brigadier General Sreng said.
Brig. Gen. Sreng said the wildlife had been hidden beneath foodstuffs including noodles and seasoning.
Photographs provided by police show officers pulling some of the animals out of rice sacks, holding up snakes about 3 meters long and weighing a turtle of about 15 kg.
The police chief said the animals would be handed to the Wildlife Alliance, adding that the truck had been impounded and the suspects were being questioned.
“Economic police are questioning them to find out what the source of wildlife smuggling is, but it will be revealed in the next two days,” Brig. Gen. Sreng said.