San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Turtle thieves

Snapping turtles rescued from a grocery store meat counter

Police arrested a man trying to sell endangered snapping turtles to a Chinese grocer in Limón on Sunday.

The suspect, identified with the last name Barrera, had four large freshwater snapping turtles in the trunk of a car in Liverpool, Limón. Barrera was handed over to a flagrancy court in Limón, according to Public Security Ministry spokeswoman Patricia Meléndez. Snapping turtles are endangered in Costa Rica and are protected by law.

The animals — still alive but a little dry for their taste — were in good condition. Officers released the animals back into the wild near Moín.

In May 2014, two men were arrested for transporting 18 snapping turtles on the road between Cariari and Guápiles.

Meléndez said that the freshwater turtles are not commonly eaten in Limón, where earlier this year police and Coast Guard officers rescued several sea turtles, whose meat and eggs are considered delicacies, from poachers.

Contact Zach Dyer at zdyer@ticotimes.net

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