8 Sep 2015

Accused iguana smuggler had been jailed in NZ

1:40 pm on 8 September 2015

A man charged with smuggling endangered iguanas from the Galapagos Islands was jailed in New Zealand for a similar crime, Ecuadorian authorities say.

Barrington Island Iguana - Galápagos Islands.

Photo: AFP / Biosphoto / Minden Pictures / Tui De Roy

The Mexican man tried to smuggle out 11 baby iguanas, which were stuffed into a suitcase so tightly they could not move.

The authorities are investigating whether the man, who they have not named, is part of an international crime ring.

Five years ago, Gustavo Eduardo Toledo-Albarran, from Mexico, was jailed for 18 weeks for trying to smuggle 16 jewelled geckos from Otago Peninsula.

Toledo-Albarran and another man from Switzerland, who was also sentenced to 18 weeks' jail, were caught with the geckos in February 2010.

Their roles had been to hunt and secure the animals, before passing them on to their collegue Manfred Bachmann, who was to courier them overseas. Bachmann, a German man who had been living in Uganda, was sentenced to 15 weeks' jail.

Judge Raoul Neave told him at the time his actions were as bad as those committed by ivory smugglers.

A female jewelled gecko.

A female jewelled gecko. Photo: Supplied

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