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  • Matilda Thomann Studholme

5 things people have smuggled across borders

Gecko Books

15 Geckos were mailed in books and picture frames into Europe from Australia. Most of the geckos were found dead because they were left without sufficient air, food, and water. The Investigators suspected that the people who sent these geckos off knew that a lot of them would not survive, yet only needed one to survive from each package. The parcels were sent from four different addresses in Australia and were mailed to the Czech Republic. Both Australian and Czech Police worked together to put a stop to the animal cruelty. A penalty for these smugglers could well be a maximum fine of $96,000 (£80,358) or up to 10 Years in Prison, for wildlife smuggling. Thankfully, the surviving geckos were adopted by wildlife activists.

Bear Paws

Two Russians were stopped at a border of Monzhuoli, Mongolia. The driver was described as “nervous” and kept checking his watch repeatedly. The investigators did an x-ray scan of the vehicle. When they removed the tyres, customs discovered the 213 bear paws. It is estimated that bear paws are worth 10 times as much in China than in Russia, because of their “medicinal value”. In fact, the addition of animal parts to Chinese traditional medicine is very recent (within the last twentieth century) as before this time, such traditional medicine was plant based. China has made the selling of brown bear paws illegal because bears are endangered. Unfortunately, Bear paws are also used as an expensive gift or in Chinese cuisine. Those two nervous Russians would have made a huge profit of £293,000 had they smuggled them into China, instead there were criminal charges against the two men.

Tyranasaurus Bataar

A Tyrannosaurus Bataar skeleton had successfully been smuggled into the United States from Mongolia. A Tyrannosaurus Bataar is the carnivorous relation of the famous Tyrannosaurus Rex, and nearly as large and old. The fossil being smuggled over the border was more then 70 million years old. The smugglers managed to get it across the border by describing it as “fossil stone pieces.” It was sold at an auction in Manhattan for around $230,000 (£192,525) to an anonymous buyer in California. A 2015 examination by HSI (Homeland Security Investigations) was able to confirm it being the rightful property of the Mongolian government. When the buyer was informed about this, he willingly relinquished it. The Mongolian Government is now displaying it in the Central Dinosaur Museum of Mongolia.

Mr Potato Head toy full of pills

In July 2007, a parcel was intercepted from Ireland with its destination being a home in Western Sydney. After it went through an x-ray scan the customs officers noticed a strange something on the inside and when they opened the toy up saw 293g of ecstasy pills. This was not the only parcel sent to the same address. Later that year, an action figure was searched and it contained 50g of cocaine. If the perpetrators are found guilty, then their maximum punishment could be life Imprisonment.

Twin Greek statues

Two farmers, 42 and 48 years old, attempted to smuggle 2500-year-old pair of ancient Greek twin statues. The police presume that there is a third party, and that this is part of a bigger smuggling ring. These statues are worth about 12.4 million US dollars equivalent to £10,363,561.64. Exactly who the statues are depicting is not clear, but what one does know is that they are almost identical males. One is 173cm and the other is 175cm. The statues consist of thick grained marble. They are said to be in amazing condition and the fact that there are two of them makes them even rarer and more valuable.

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