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The twenty snakes, two tortoises, and a monkey had been hidden in boxes in checked luggage on a flight from Bangkok, and officials were able to recover the animals thanks to a tip-off.
Customs officers at Chennai International Airport were taken aback when they discovered nearly two dozen animals smuggled in a man’s checked luggage.
The reported smuggler snuck 15 king snakes, five ball pythons, two aldabra tortoises, and one De Brazza monkey in boxes in his checked luggage on a flight from Bangkok, which officials discovered after receiving a tip.
The animals were examined to ensure their health before being flown back to Thailand on a Thai Airlines flight.
K R Uday Bhaskar, principal commissioner at Chennai Customs, said: “[The animals] were sent back because they will find it difficult to survive here.”
Meanwhile the man who had tried to bring in the contrabanded animals was identified in local media as Mohammed Shahiel, an Indian national who said a stranger had given him the bag and told him to hand it to a man when he reached Chennai.