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Egyptian arrested for trying to smuggle 700 live snakes onto plane

A man, who tried to smuggle 700 live snakes onto a plane bound for Saudi Arabia, was arrested by customs officers at the Cairo international airport on Thursday.

The officers were stunned when a passenger, identified as Yahia Rahim Tulba, after being asked to open his carryon bag, told them it contained live snakes.

Tulba opened his bag to show the snakes to the police but asked the officers, who held a safe distance, not to come close. Among the various snakes, hidden in small cloth sacks, were two poisonous cobras.

The wannabe smuggler said he had hoped to take the snakes into Saudi Arabia and sell them there. Police confiscated the snakes and turned Tulba over to the prosecutor's office, accusing him of violating export laws and endangering the lives of other passengers.

According to the customs, Tulba claimed the snakes are wanted by Saudis who display them in glass jars in their shops or sell them to research centers. Some even keep them as home pets, the passenger said. It was not immediately clear how much the snakes were worth.