Swiss customs solves the mystery of the budgie smuggler
SWISS customs authorities say they have arrested a bird specialist who smuggled the eggs of protected parrots in his underwear and travelled the globe trading in rare species.
The customs service said in a statement that the man, whom it did not identify, was though to have trafficked over 150 eggs from endangered parrots that are protected by international law, as well as rare pheasant species.
The man, a Swiss citizen who was also a legal bird trader, was busted at Zurich airport in 2010 with 25 eggs hidden in his underwear as he returned from Brazil.
The customs service explained that it was only revealing details of the case now because of the secrecy surrounding the probe.
Investigators managed to establish that thanks to a solid international network of contacts, the man managed to smuggle more than 150 eggs to buyers in Indonesia, Thailand and Mexico.
The total value of the contraband eggs was 65,000 Swiss francs (about $75,000), the customs service said, adding that it had not been possible to establish where they came from.
Investigators said that the man also had an aviary of several hundred birds, including endangered species.
The Swiss veterinary service also seized seven rare parrots from an accomplice, with an estimated value of 8,000 Swiss francs.
The two men face a heavy fine for trafficking in endangered species.