Man arrested for attempted smuggling of Galapagos iguanas

The Ecuadorian Ministry of Environment has reported that a man has been arrested for attempting to smuggle 11 iguanas out of the Galapagos Islands. 

The man, who has not been named but is said to be Mexican, was caught with the iguanas in his vehicle in Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz Island on Sunday 6 September. Officials believe he was attempting to smuggle the iguanas with the help of others who had been posing as tourists. The suspect is said to have a history of trafficking animals and previously served a 4.5 month prison sentence for illegally smuggling reptiles out of New Zealand. The arrest reportedly follows a three-month investigation by the Ministry into an international network of wildlife trafficking.

The suspect has now been transferred to a prison in Guayaquil on Ecuador’s mainland, and is facing a possible three year sentence if found guilty of attempting to smuggle a protected species. 

The iguanas – nine marine iguanas and two land iguanas – were said to be in a good condition and were being monitored by officials. 

In 2013, a German man was also caught attempting to smuggle iguanas out of the Galapagos Islands and was subsequently sentenced to four years in prison.

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Photo credit: Flickr/Rudy R

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