PAIR CHARGED OVER WILDLIFE TRAFFICKING OFFENCES

Two people have been arrested and charged as part of an investigation into illegal wildlife trafficking.

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, before being discovered by Australian Border Force (ABF) officers at Sydney Mail Gateway Facility.

Police and an Environmental Crime team, searched a Belmore property on Thursday (23 January 2020), discovering three rooms with numerous wildlife enclosures. Among the creatures 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 the couple attempted to export 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.