Customs agents at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport have seized a parcel shipment of preserved wildlife species smuggled from Malaysia, officials said Saturday.
The species include 20 sulcata tortoises, 10 razorback turtles, one red bearded dragon, two corn snakes and eight savanna lizards with a market value of more than P280,000.
The authorities also arrested the shipment’s claimant whose name was temporarily withheld pending further investigation by the Customs’s NAIA legal department.
Port of NAIA district collector Carmelita Talusan said alert Customs examiners intercepted the shipment at the Federal Express warehouse in Pasay City on Friday night.
She added the importer sent the species from Kuala Lumpur and declared the items as “lego toys,” a clear case of technical smuggling.
The shipment owner will be charged with Illegal importation of wildlife species under Section 1113 in relation to Sections 117 and 1401 of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act and Section 27 of the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act.
In full support of the anti-smuggling drive of Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero, the Port of NAIA has been active in protecting the borders against illegal importation and exportation of wildlife animals and species, aside from dangerous drugs and other contrabands as threats to national security, public health, ecology, and environment.
“Customs NAIA fully supports Commissioner Guerrero’s directive on intensified border protection and is united with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to uphold the wildlife protection and its conservation,” said Talusan.