Canadian man found with 51 live turtles stuffed in pants
DETROIT — A man has been charged with federal smuggling crimes after he was allegedly found trying to cross from Detroit into Canada with 51 live turtles in his pants, it was reported Thursday.
According to the Detroit Free Press, a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Detroit said Kai Xu, a Canadian citizen, was trying to return to Windsor, Ontario, with the live reptiles tucked in baggies around his legs.
The newspaper reported that Gavin Shire of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service investigated the case against Xu and said there is a large demand for turtles in Asia — and not necessarily for pets.
There’s “a lot of both illegal and unregulated turtle consumption,” Shire told the paper.
Xu was stopped and arrested Aug. 5, but the criminal complaint was filed in court Tuesday.
The complaint said the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, apparently tipped off, was watching when Xu picked up a box labeled ‘live fish keep cool’ from the UPS Customer Center in Detroit. The box was from Alabama.
Federal agents said Xu took the box and other material to an area between two UPS semi-trailers and then walked out later with bulges on his legs beneath his pants. He then left and headed for the Windsor tunnel.
He was stopped trying to enter Windsor and the turtles were found during a search. The complaint said there were eastern box turtles, red-eared sliders and diamondback terrapins.
According to the newspaper, Xu faces three charges — smuggling goods from the United States, trading in specimens illegally, and exporting fish or wildlife illegally.