Customs arrests man over live snakes in the post

Customs media release

Customs arrests man over live snakes in the post – Thursday, 3rd April 2008

Customs has arrested and charged a Melbourne man with trying to smuggle four valuable live snakes into Australia.

A 32-year-old Ferntree Gully man will face Melbourne Magistrates Court today charged with four counts of importing a Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) specimen under Section 303CD of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

The charges each carry a maximum penalty of ten years imprisonment and/or a $110 000 fine. The snakes, believed to be green tree pythons, were sent from South Africa in separate parcels in late March.

The parcels were intercepted by alert Customs and Quarantine officers at the Sydney International Mail Centre using state of the art x-ray equipment.

Inquiries led Customs investigators to execute search warrants in the Melbourne suburbs of Cranbourne, Belgrave South and Ferntree Gully yesterday with the assistance of officers from the Department of Sustainability and the Environment.

Customs National Manager for Investigations, Richard Janeczko, said wildlife smuggling was a cruel practice carried out with little or no thought for the welfare of the animals.

“It’s a big business with some specimens attracting high prices among collectors,” he said. Mr Janeczko said the snakes were protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

“Australia has been a signatory to CITES since 1974 in an effort to help stamp out the illegal international trade in wildlife,” he said.

Media note:
Images of the snakes can be foundĀ in the photo gallery.

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