A man caught trying to smuggle live turtles into Canada in his pants has pled guilty and could face up to 10 years in prison.
Kai Xu, a Canadian college student pled guilty to six unnamed crimes in federal court. Xu was caught by border agents in Detroit last September when he attempted to cross into Canada with wildlife without a permit. Mlive.com reports the agents found 51 live turtles taped to his legs.
Allegedly, Xu would buy the turtles online and then attempt to smuggle them to China where they are worth more. “In China, the turtles he smuggles are worth two to three times the amount he pays here,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Sara Woodward said.
Woodward said in a court filing that Xu regularly was smuggling turtles and was dealing in shipments worth between $30,000 and $125,000 in China. He would get the turtles in the U.S. and either return with them to Canada or ship them to China.
Xu’s arrest came as a result of surveillance wildlife agents already had on Xu’s activities. Agents observed Xu pick up a box supposedly full of turtles. He disappeared for several minutes before re-emerging with what wildlife agent Ken Adams called “irregularly shaped bulges” under his pants.
Authorities also nabbed an accomplice of Xu’s in September 2014 at Detroit Metro Airport with hundreds of turtles. Hong Kong authorities also apparently became suspicious last year when they intercepted a box with more than 300 turtles worth more than $30,000 in China.