Uzbek train conductor caught smuggling turtles to Ukraine

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Ukrainian customs officers have detained an Uzbek train conductor for trying to smuggle 250 turtles into Ukraine, a border guards spokesman said

KIEV, June 22 (RIA Novosti) - Ukrainian customs officers have detained an Uzbek train conductor for trying to smuggle 250 turtles into Ukraine, a border guards spokesman said on Monday.

The turtles were found late on Sunday during a check on a train traveling from the Uzbek capital of Tashkent to Kharkov, a city in northeast Ukraine, the spokesman said.

The reptiles, wrapped in plastic, were discovered in a toilet and nearby window passage. "Some of the turtles were hidden in a niche and some were in bags," he added.

The total value of the cargo is estimated at $2,400. The reptiles are currently held by the customs officers.

Smuggling turtles is a profitable business in Uzbekistan, even though the reptiles, which are often transported by train, rarely survive the trip.

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