Saturday, December 4, 2010

Dude… Operation Spiderman nabs spider smuggler

I guess you could call this a “Sting Operation.” Literally.

image Sven Koppler, 37, was arrested on December 2 after arriving in Los Angeles to meet an associate, following a nine-month investigation dubbed Operation Spiderman, prosecutors said.

The probe began last March when customs officers found 300 live tarantulas during a routine search of a package.

US fish and wildlife agents intercepted a second package containing nearly 250 live tarantulas wrapped in coloured plastic straws, as well as 22 Mexican red-kneed tarantulas.

In a bid to catch the organisers red-handed, agents ordered more tarantulas from Koppler, who sent a package containing 70 live ones and one dead spider.

Koppler, from Wachtberg in western Germany, allegedly earned some $300,000 (£190,000) from tarantula sales to spider fanciers in dozens of countries, including nine in the US.