Passenger arrested at Alicante Airport with live animals in his suitcase

Passenger arrested at Alicante Airport with live animals in his suitcase

Passenger arrested at Alicante Airport with live animals in his suitcase Image Civil Guard

The Guardia Civil have arrested a passenger who tried to board a plane in Alicante with 46 live turtles and crabs in their suitcase.

The arrest took place on May 28 when the person’s hand luggage was scanned during the standard security check. The suitcase was pulled aside and the passenger was asked to open it.

Inside the security officers found the 46 live turtles and crabs all packed in small takeaway type containers, which restricted their movement. It is understood that no allowance had been made for them to breath and its likely they would have suffocated before long.

The passenger who was about to board a plane bound for Denmark was arrested by Guardia Civil officers.

Agents from the Alicante Nature Protection Service (SEPRONA) were called in to identify and remove the reptiles and crustaceans.

SEPRONA confirmed that there were a red-eared slider (Trachemys scripta elegans); two yellow-eared slider sliders (Trachemys scripta scripta); six leper pond turtles (Mauremys leprosa) and 37 American crayfish (Procambarus clarkii).

At least one of the species is protected by Royal Decree 139/2011, of February 4, for the development of the List of Wild Species under Special Protection Regime and the Spanish Catalog of Endangered Species.

The 64-year-old man, who is charged with the crime of illegal trafficking of protected species and another of animal abuse. He now faces a possible prison sentences of 3 months and one day up to one year, special disqualification to carry out a profession, trade or trade related to animals. For the crime of illegal trafficking of species, he faces a prison sentence that can be up to two years.

The man will now appear before the Court of Elche for trying to export the live animals in his suitcase, with the animals being rehomed at the Santa Faz Wildlife Recovery Centre.

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Written by

Peter McLaren-Kennedy

Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at