Poisonous Frog Smuggling at Israeli Airport Thwarted by Inspectors

Thursday, 18 Apr 2013 11:53 AM

By Michael Mullins

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An man was caught by customs inspectors trying to smuggle 30 poisonous frogs into Israel on Thursday but two other men flying from Amsterdam with him into Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv got away.

Customs officials said the frogs were headed for Israeli collectors who were paying between $60 and $150 apiece.

The amphibians were a type of poisonous dart frogs that are not native to the Jewish state, according to officials from the Israel Nature and Parks Authority and Tax Authority.

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The officials said if the poisonous frogs had not been intercepted by customs officials and had gained access to Israel's water basins, their spread could cause ecological damage and a biological imbalance that could prove catastrophic to dozens of aquatic animals, reported the Jerusalem Post.

"There is a real danger to Israeli amphibians as a result of the entry into Israel of exotic species, and therefore, the INPA does not endorse the import of amphibians into Israel," read a statement from the authority.

Airport officials were tipped off to the smuggling plot by a source.

The frogs were contained in a series of boxes hidden in the smuggler's possessions.

This wasn’t the first time in recent months that a person had been caught attempting to smuggle amphibians through an airport.

In March, security agents at Guangzhou Airport in China stopped a South Korean woman who was attempting to smuggle tadpoles.

A customs official had spotted a suspicious liquid in a bottle of water and told the women to either drink it or discard the bottle. The woman reportedly took a gulp of the liquid but did not swallow, reported the New York Daily News. (http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/woman-smuggle-tadpoles-airport-security-mouth-article-1.1293631)

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Custom officials detained the women and ordered her to spit out the liquid out in a bucket. They were shocked when tadpoles flew out of her mouth.

The woman was placed on a flight back to South Korea without her tadpoles.

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