Police arrested a smuggler in Argentina on Saturday after finding more than 600 snakes and other reptiles packed in the luggage compartment of a bus, AFP reports.
Police, acting on a tip-off, intercepted the bus in a northern province making its way to Buenos Aires, and began poking into luggage after requesting passengers' documents.
"A passenger came onboard with 40 snakes, plus what he had in the boxes" in the bus luggage hold, said ranger Daniel Chersich, warden of Santa Fe province.
Chersich, who was investigating a wildlife trafficking network and who joined the operation, told the daily Clarin that police "were terrified of opening the bags" upon learning their contents.
The trafficker had loaded the bags with 444 boas, vipers and other snakes; 186 endangered tortoises; 40 lizards, and an armadillo.
The arrested smuggler had boarded the bus in Santiago del Estero, where he had spent three months trapping various species with the intent of sale, according to Cherisch.