Friday, May 20

The Civil Guard seizes in Bétera more than a thousand stuffed animals, some of them protected or extinct, worth 29 million euros

The Civil Guard, within the framework of the ‘Valcites’ operation, is investigating a person for the crimes of smuggling and another related to the protection of flora and fauna in the Valencian town of Bétera. The operation, carried out by the Nature Protection Team of the Valencia Armed Institute Command, began in November 2021, when the agents became aware of a possible private collection of specimens.

The agents located a ship of more than 50,000 square meters in the municipality of Bétera that contained a house and two more ships inside. Inside they found 1,090 stuffed specimens. Of these specimens, 405 belonged to the cites (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) and some of them, even extinct, such as the oryx dammah or practically extinct like the addax or the bengal tiger.

In addition, among these specimens, different types of animals with various levels of protection were found, such as the cheetah, leopard, lion, lynx, polar bear, snow leopard, white rhinoceros, etc. Among the pieces found, which would have an approximate value of more than 29 million euros, 198 were large ivory tusks of elephants.

In the next phase of the operation, the agents will proceed to analyze all the documentation provided by the author to justify the possession of the aforementioned pieces.

In the operation, the inspectors and optional technicians of the Technical Unit of the Headquarters of the Nature Protection Service and members of the Legal Institute and Forensic Sciences have collaborated, who, thanks to the Integrated System of Management and Control of Quality and the Environment, have managed to identify the protected species.

It has also had the collaboration of Europol, framed within the Empact actions of which the Civil Guard is co-leader.

The proceedings have been delivered to the Court of First Instance and Instruction Number 2 of Liria.