The Uttar Pradesh Police's Special Task Force on Sunday recovered over 1,300 Indian flapshell turtles from a truck in Kanpur as they were allegedly being taken to West Bengal for smuggling out of the country, officials said.
Senior police official T B Singh said they also arrested the truck driver Rambrash Yadav (48) and helper Vinod Kumar Savira for their alleged involvement in smuggling of turtles.
The turtles being smuggled to Vangaon in West Bengal were found stuffed in sacks and some even lay scattered on the floor of the truck, Mr Singh added.
We are investigating further and looking at the possible involvement of more people, especially smuggling rackets, he said.
During interrogation, the arrested men confessed to the STF officials that a number of poachers were involved in catching turtles from Etah, Etawah and Farrukhabad in UP and supplying the reptiles to organised smugglers for transportation to Kolkata, Mr Singh said.
From West Bengal, the turtles are then smuggled out of the country to China, Thailand, Hong Kong and other Southeast Asian countries via Bangladesh and Myanmar, Mr Singh added.