Security officers at the Soekarno Hatta International Airport in Jakarta, Indonesia have foiled two passengers’ attempts to smuggle out more than a million dollars-worth of juvenile lobsters, known in the aquaculture industry as “seeds”.
Head of the Fish Quarantine and Fishery Quality Control Agency (BKIPM), Rina said Aviation Security officers became suspicious of four suitcases and searched them, thwarting the smuggling attempt, The Jakarta Post reported.
Rina said the luggage was destined for Singapore via the national flag carrier Garuda Indonesia.
X-ray scans of the suitcases revealed living organisms, and when the cases were opened, lobster seeds were found packed inside plastic bags hidden among clothes.
According to the authorities, the lobster seeds, said to be those of pearl and sand lobsters, are reportedly worth 19 billion Rupiahs (US$1.31 million.)
The two Indonesian passengers the luggage belonged to—identified by authorities only as ER and RW—could not be found when the officers tried to bring them in for questioning. Authorities are now on the hunt for the two suspects.
If found guilty, offenders can be charged under the 2004 Fisheries Affair Law and may be sentenced to six years of jail time and 1.5 billion Rupiahs (US$105,466) in fines.