Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Czech Man Loads Luggage With Snakes, Reptiles and Poisonous Vipers - Yech!
Buenos Aires, Argentina
December 27, 2011
A Czech national faces 10 years in prison after Buenos Aires airport screeners found 247 (245) living snakes and reptiles -- including poisonous vipers -- in the bulging suitcase he tried to check on a flight to Madrid.
The "organic substances moving inside" the bag were packed in clear plastic containers, workers at the Iberia Airlines desk at Ezeiza Airport discovered after the bag was X-rayed. Some are reported to be extremely rare and protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.
Among the writhing cargo were South American pit vipers, yararas and several young boas. Two snakes were dead, and authorities said more would have died from lack of oxygen had they been loaded onto the plane.
Karel Abelovsky, 51, who appears to be a simpleton, was charged with attempted smuggling. How he ever believed he could pass through airport security with 247 (245) live snakes and vipers in his suitcase is strong evidence for the simpleton hypothesis.
It was not clear what the fate of the 245 still living snakes and vipers would be when the simpleton smuggler is arrested and jailed. The Buenos Aires Zoo has no facilities to handle a sudden influx of 245 new residents, many poisonous and hungry, and releasing them in the area surrounding the airport did not appear to be a viable option because the airport is surrounded by dense housing development and numerous schools.
An airport baggage handler with no knowledge of reptiles offered to take the suitcase home with him overnight until a very brief phone call to his wife nixed the arrangement.
Jail authorities also refused to allow the prisoner to keep the reptiles in his cell, citing concerns that some of the poisonous vipers could escape into adjacent cells, frightening other inmates.
The incident happened Dec. 7 but was just reported today. 20 days with poisonous snakes at the airport?