Around a year ago, Canadian student Kai Xu ordered some turtles online with the intention to ship them back to China or take them to Canada from Michigan.
Since it’s illegal to export wildlife from the US without a license from the government, Xu had to get creative. That’s when he decided he was going to tape 51 SNAPPING turtles to his body in an attempt to get them through customs and out of the country.
Officers discovered the turtles all taped inside the man’s sweatpants (he’s lucky nothing vital got bitten off) early Wednesday morning, and stopped the operation at the border.
But 26 year old Xu didn’t orchestrate the entire plan by himself. His Canadian accomplice, Lihua Lin, was caught smuggling wildlife too, when TSA seized his airport luggage and discovered around 200 more turtles inside.
Earlier last week, the two men pleaded guilty to smuggling or attempting to smuggle thousands of turtles from the US and face a maximum of 10 years in prison – though it’s unlikely they’ll face a sentence that long.
Experts have said this demonstrates just how valuable turtles are in Asian cultures, for both food and pets. Apparently just one of the snappers Xu had hidden between his legs fetches a price of around 800 US dollars overseas.