Malaysian authorities rescue protected turtles, snakes hidden under garlic

Turtles, snakes smuggled under garlic in Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — A wildlife official says Malaysian authorities have rescued more than 800 turtles and 160 protected snakes from being smuggled on a truck under a load of garlic to mask their smell.

Masnim Abdullah, from the wildlife department in northern Perlis state, says customs officers near the Thai border on Saturday confiscated 160 king cobras and 814 turtles, including protected Malayan box turtles.

Wildlife — many times destined for restaurants abroad — is often smuggled out of Malaysia.

Abdullah says the reptiles were hidden in bags under 2.3 tons of garlic. They have been released back into the jungle.

He says the Thai driver has been taken into custody and could face charges that carry a maximum three-year prison term.

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