More than 180 native and exotic wildlife seized from Belmore home, NSW

Two people have been arrested and charged as part of an ongoing investigation into illegal wildlife trafficking led by the Department of the Environment and Energy (DoEE).

The pair, a 29-year-old woman and a 32-year-old man, allegedly made multiple attempts to smuggle native and exotic animals out of Australia between November 2018 and January 2020.

The animals were headed for Hong Kong and Taiwan, concealed in parcels among electronic speakers and toy trucks, before being intercepted at the Sydney Mail Gateway Facility by Australian Border Force (ABF) officers.

NSW Police Force officers from Campsie Police Area Command, along with investigators from the DoEE Office of Compliance Environmental Crime team, executed three search warrants at the Belmore property on Thursday (23 January 2020).

Investigators located three rooms with numerous wildlife enclosures. The specimens seized included 30 snakes, 43 lizards, 40 turtles, 22 tortoises, 22 frogs, five salamanders and 19 reptile eggs.

The man and woman were arrested and taken to Campsie Police Station, where they were charged with 17 offences in relation to the attempted export of regulated native specimens.

Investigators will allege in court the couple attempted to export a total of 45 reptiles between November 2018 and January 2020.

The maximum penalty for these offences is imprisonment for 10 years and/or a $210,000 fine for an individual or a $1,050,000 fine for a corporation.

Both were granted strict conditional bail to appear at Burwood Local Court on Tuesday 18 February 2020.

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