You may remember from last year the curious case of a Canadian college student who was caught at the U.S.-Canada border with 51 live turtles stuffed in his pants. Yeah? Well he pleaded guilty to six counts of smuggling earlier this week.
27-year-old Kai Xu, aka “The Turtle Man,” from Windsor, Ontario admitted that over a period of three months (April to September 2014) he had managed to smuggle more than 1,600 turtles out of the U.S. When he was caught, the latest bale of turtles was reportedly headed to our fair city, Shanghai.
The global smuggling operation all came to an end when immigration officers at the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel happened to notice the massive turtle bulge in his pants. Seriously, the arrested wasn’t exactly Ocean’s Eleven material. The Washington Post recounts:
Agents said they then saw Xu go between two trucks with a weighted grocery bag, then emerge without a bag 10 minutes later. That’s when one agent “noticed irregularly shaped bulges under Xu’s sweatpants on both legs,” the complaint alleges.
Canadian officials searched him and found 41 live turtles taped around his legs and groin and 10 more hidden between his legs.
It's turtles all the way down. https://t.co/gWlTd8fBo8
— Florence Chee (@cheeflo) December 2, 2015
Prosecutors have also said that the day he was arrested, Xu had packed more than 1,000 turtles into suitcases that he sent with a runner that was to take them from Detroit to Shanghai. The Guardian reports that the globe-crossing, high-income smuggling ring was brought down by some dude named Dave. Kudos to Dave:
Agents said they were tipped off by a Detroit UPS employee identified only as “Dave”, who alerted agents to a seven pound box labeled “live fish keep cool”.
Each of the smuggling charges carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for April 12.
Like iPhones, there is always insatiable demand for turtles in China, providing a golden opportunity for the black market. Also, like iPhones, turtles are small so you can smuggle dozens in cereal boxes or stockings, or you can just stick them down your pants and hope for the best. Poor turtles. What do they look like? Mink coats?