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DENR-7 arrests 2 men for online sales of reptiles

By: Fe Marie D. Dumaboc, Michelle Joy L. Padayhag July 15,2017 - 12:09 AM

The caged Burmese Albino python that was rescued from the Carreta residence of suspect Jhesul Niño Paras.
/CDN photo/Junjie Mendoza

TWO men were arrested in separate operations by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the National Bureau of Investigation in Central Visayas on Friday for the unauthorized sales of reptiles and endangered animals to customers abroad.

Arrested were Jhesul Niño Paras of Sitio Tierra Cura, Barangay Carreta and Alpie Jun Jugilon of Sitio Upper San Roque, Barangay Bulacao, all in Cebu City.

Both are now at the NBI-7 detention cell.

“They sell these endangered species from $500 to $1,000 each. They had previous transactions like the United States,” said Dr. Esteven Toledo of DENR-7’s Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB).

The two will face charges for the violation of Republic Act 9147 or the Wildlife Conservation and Protection Act that is punishable with imprisonment of up to four years with penalty ranging from P20,000 to P200,000.

Toledo said Paras and Jugilon belong to the “Cebu Inverts Keepers,” a group that engages in the online sales, especially of reptiles to foreign clients.
Monitor lizards, for example, are sold for at least $1,000 each.

Based on their monitoring, group members would hide animals for delivery inside stuffed toys or on the central processing unit (CPU) of computers, radio speakers and children’s piano, among others.

Operatives first raided the Carreta residence of Paras at around 10:30 a.m. and recovered a Burmese Albino python and a juvenile monitor lizard (bayawak) placed inside separate cages.

They later proceeded to Jugilon’s residence in Barangay Bulacao at around 4 p.m. and recovered animal derivatives.

Confiscated animals, Toledo said, will be turned over to the Wildlife Rescue Center in Barangay Kalunasan for safekeeping.

Paras admitted in an interview that he used to sell monitor lizards to local clients but already ceased from his animal sales business.

He said that the caged animals found in his home were his pets.

Rogelio Demelletes, DENR Senior Ecosystems Management Specialist, said that Paras does not have a permit, certificate of wildlife registration and wildlife farm permit that would allow him to possess or sell animals.

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TAGS: arrests, DENR-7, men, online

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