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IIlegal wildlife trade stopped by joint agencies

IIlegal trade in wildlife stopped by joint government agencies

One alleged wildlife smuggler was arrested by the New Zealand Police at Wellington’s Lynx ferry terminal today.

The Government’s inter-agency Wildlife Enforcement Group (WEG) has confirmed a man from the Czech Republic has been charged with illegal possession of seven chameleons.

Craig Hughes, a senior investigator with MAF’s Special Investigation Group, said the man entered New Zealand via Auckland International Airport on Sunday.

“The chameleons were seized in New Plymouth and have been put into a secure quarantine facility. However the exact species has not yet been identified,” said Mr Hughes.

The man will appear in Wellington District Court tomorrow and will face charges under the Trading in Endangered Species Act, the Biosecurity Act and the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act.

This was an inter-agency operation involving members of the New Zealand Police and the Special Investigation Group of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. WEG comprises investigators from the New Zealand Customs Service, Department of Conservation and MAF.

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