Smuggled Turtles Found in Snack Boxes at LAX

The undercover investigation into a smuggling operation began last year

Tuesday, Jan 11, 2011  |  Updated 2:01 PM PDT
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It was called Operation Flying Turtle.

Authorities involved in an undercover operation that began last year arrested two Japanese nationals after more than 50 live turtles and tortoises were discovered at LAX. Authorities said the animals were found in snack food boxes.

The U.S. attorney's office said Monday that Atsushi Yamagami and Norihide Ushirozako, both of Osaka, were charged with one count each of illegally importing wildlife and one count of violating the Endangered Species Act.

If convicted, they both face up to 21 years in prison. They are scheduled to be arraigned Jan. 31.

The arrests were tied to an undercover investigation that began last year into a smuggling operation that brought turtles into the United States.

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