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Brazil: Japanese national suspected of smuggling beetles

BRAZIL (TR) – Police in Sao Paulo over the weekend arrested a 29-year-old male Japanese national for attempting to smuggle nearly 100 live beetles out of the country, reports NHK (Mar. 3).

On February 29, police apprehended the man, who was not named, at Sao Paulo International Airport after he tried to board a flight for Bangkok, Thailand, with 99 live Japanese rhinoceros beetles and other insects concealed inside his luggage.

He was accused of removing the insects out of the country without permission.

According to police, the beetles were found during an X-ray examination of the man’s luggage. The insects were packed in plastic containers of different sizes and covered with ice.

“Collecting beetles is my hobby, and I bought these for 500 dollars,” the suspect said. “If I sell them outside Brazil, I can get more than three times that amount.”

The seized beetles were taken to a zoology museum at the University of Sao Paulo. Specialists will then will identify the species of the beetles, determine their origins and assess whether they are endangered.

After seizing the passport of the suspect, authorities released him. He is to appear in court at a later date.