Group tries to smuggle an ‘87-pound shipment of tarantulas, scorpions and reptiles into Germany

MEXICO CITY — Police in Colombia seized more than 500 tarantulas and other exotic animals from a group in a car, including one marked “mobile to Germany,” authorities said Wednesday.

The smuggler’s holdalls were stuffed with snakes, geckos, scorpions, spiders, turtles, leeches and snakes, as well as musical instruments, said Lt. Juan Carlos Leon of the customs police in the Colombian city of Choco, where the illicit cargo was intercepted.

“We found these snakes and scorpions in his in-laws’ house,” Leon said.

Colombia’s police acted after the skittish creature sparked a minor panic in Ciudad Quibdo, a port city outside the capital, Bogota.

The animals were seized Tuesday, but were kept in quarantine at a local hospital for further identification. Officers gave the animals to a zoo in the town of Cali.

The smugglers smuggled the animals from Colombia to Venezuela in wooden crates and secreted them under floorboards in the car. They had purchased their imports at a medical treatment center in Ciudad Quibdo and then loaded them into the trunk of the vehicle, Leon said.

Authorities are investigating whether the group intended to export some of the animals, he said. The names of the suspects and the haul were not released.

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