Two alleged reptile smugglers were arrested by south Indian customs officials trying to transport a cargo of endangered snakes and other reptiles at an airport on October 10.
It's believed the animals were being smuggled from Kuala Lumpur through Chennai International Airport, Tamil Nadu, according to officers of Customs Air Intelligence Unit (AIU).
The AIU officers discovered the smugglers when they noticed that two male passengers moving in a suspicious manner in the arrival area.
The passengers were detained at the exit and identified as Mohammad Parvaez, 36, of Ramnad district and Mohammad Akbar, 28, of Sivaganga district, who had arrived from Kuala Lumpur by Batik Airways Flight 6018.
After being questioned, their luggage was searched and found to contain a big yellow plastic toy.
On opening the toy, cloth bags tied with rope were found inside, in which a number of small exotic reptiles were concealed.
The travellers then confessed that they were given the packages in Kuala Lumpur and told to deliver them to unknown contacts at Chennai airport.
Seven species of reptile were discovered in their luggage all native to Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and the Phillipines.
A team of veterinary doctors were called from Arignar Anna Zoological Park who inspected and found the animals to be in healthy condition.
Officials recommended the animals be deported back to their native countries, while the two passengers were charged with importing without a license, while the investigation is still on-going.