A joint Commonwealth and state investigation into the illegal trade of native Australian lizards has culminated in the arrest and charging of a 26-year-old Victorian man.
Investigators from the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, assisted by officers from the Australian Border Force, Victoria Police and the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning executed a search warrant on a Melbourne residence on Friday 19 November.
It followed recent seizures by Federal Environment investigators of 32 lizards after being stopped at the Melbourne Gateway Facility, all of which were bound for Hong Kong. The lizards were concealed in parcels containing children’s toy dinosaurs.
A further four blue-tongue lizards were seized in a package upon arrival in Hong Kong.
During the search, investigators seized a further 6 blue-tongue lizards and 1 albino Eastern blue-tongue lizard.
The accused man did not hold any exemptions or permits to export regulated native specimens pursuant to the EPBC Act 1999.
He was charged with four counts of attempting to export and one count of exporting regulated native specimens.
Investigations in relation to this matter are ongoing and further charges are expected to be laid.
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