Smugglers arrested with 40 pythons onto a plane

Posted by Shazy on Sunday, March 27, 2011

Smugglers arrested with 40 pythons onto a plane
Snakes on a plane: Smugglers arrested with 40 pythons in their hand luggage
Two men were arrested trying to smuggle 40 snakes onto a plane in their hand luggage yesterday.

They were stopped after airport security officials in Jakarta found the animals when the bags were passed through security scanners

Although the reticulated pythons were sedated, officers still said the reptiles could have caused terror on the flight from Jakarta to Dubai if released - especially among any passengers who had seen Samuel L Jackson film Snakes on a Plane.

Reticulated pythons are not poisonous and kill their prey by squeezing them to death, although a few cases of them killing humans have been reported.

The arrested men, Yaqub Ebrahim and Ali Hasan, are thought to have been trying to smuggle the animals to the United Arab Emirates where they would have been sold.

The pair are said to have told officers that they had been promised a large sum of money for the snakes by the collectors in the United Arab Emirates.

Authorities across south east Asia are seeing increasing animal smuggling.

In December, police at Abu Dhabi's airport stopped a passenger who passed through an Indonesian airport carrying four snakes, two parrots and a squirrel.

Last year a Malaysian wildlife trafficker Anson Wong, nicknamed the "Lizard King" pleaded guilty to smuggling 95 endangered boa constrictors.

An Indonesian security spokesman said:' In the name of flight safety and security, no kind of animal is allowed to be brought onto an aircraft without permission and special handling.

'We usually place [the animals] in the cargo hold instead of the passenger cabin. In this case, pythons are among the animals banned.'

The suspects face up to seven years in jail if they are found guilty.

The reticulated pythons, which can grow up to 20 feet long, have been taken to the animal quarantine centre at Jakarta's Sukarno-Hatta airport.