May 24, 2007

OK, Now My Feet Are Tingling...

CAIRO, Egypt - Customs officers at Cairo's airport on Thursday
detained a man bound for Saudi Arabia who was trying to smuggle 700 live snakes
on a plane, airport authorities said.

The officers were stunned when a passenger, identified as
Yahia Rahim Tulba, told them his carryon bag contained live snakes after he was
asked to open it.

Tulba opened his bag to show the snakes to the police and
asked the officers, who held a safe distance, not to come close. Among the
various snakes, hidden in small cloth sacks, were two poisonous cobras,
authorities said.

The Egyptian said he had hoped to sell the snakes in Saudi
Arabia. Police confiscated the snakes and turned Tulba over to the prosecutor's
office, accusing him of violating export laws and endangering the lives of other

According to the customs officials, Tulba claimed the snakes
are wanted by Saudis who display them in glass jars in shops, keep them as pets
or sell them to research centers.

The value of the snakes was not immediately

"Looks like you can't check exotic animals on a plane, so I guess I'll have to pile y'all into a bag and carry you on. Promise me you won't wriggle loose and bite anyone, OK?"

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