Another Bust! More Than 600 Smuggled Reptiles Rescued From Animal Trafficking Network; Nine People Arrested

Photos from Europol

A Spanish network illegally trafficking rare animals has been dismantled after more than 600 smuggled reptiles were found earlier this week.

Nine people were arrested and seven suspected members of the criminal organization are currently under investigation, as per Europol which made the announcement.

“This little dragon is free again,” the European law enforcement agency shared in a post on its Facebook page yesterday. “Big hit by Guardia Civil and Europol against an organized crime group trafficking more than 600 protected reptiles from the Americas, Asia, Africa and Oceania.”

The group reportedly purchased the animals from Australia, the Fiji Islands, Mexico, New Zealand, Oman, and South Africa, before illegally transporting them to Spain.

Europol explained that it provided analytical and operational support and “assisted Guardia Civil officers by deploying a team to Spain with a mobile office and UFED extraction capabilities on the internationally-coordinated action day, providing them with real-time intelligence analysis and forensic support.”

Their efforts helped to identify transnational links with other serious and organized crimes around the world.

Overall law enforcement authorities from 17 countries worldwide were involved in the operation.

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