Aug. 23, 2018
The operators of Europe’s largest illegal turtle farm were shell-shocked Thursday during a Spanish police raid that rescued more than 1,100 turtles — including endangered species selling for nearly $12,000 each, officials said.
Mallorca police also seized about 750 eggs, and will end up with many more than that: 200 female turtles were about to lay eggs. Specimens of 14 of the 50 most endangered species in the world were also discovered at the illicit pet farm, officials said.
Some of the most protected species came from the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
Video of the turtles were posted on YouTube.
The operation was launched 18 months ago when a shipment of turtles was seized at Mallorca airport, Europol said in a news release. The discovery eventually led them to the farm.
A Barcelona pet shop specializing in exotic animals was allegedly used as a front to smuggle the exotic animals in and out of Spain, officials said.
Six people were arrested between Mallorca and Barcelona in connection with the smuggling, Europol announced.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.