Large Shipment of Endangered Sea Turtle Shells Seized at Miami International Airport

NBC Universal, Inc.

Authorities seized a large amount of endangered and illegal sea turtle shells at Miami International Airport.

Officials with U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service displayed the shells found in the recent bust at a news conference Thursday.

"These actual turtle shells were in transit to Miami from the Caribbean, going into Asia," CBP's Robert Del Toro said.

In this case the shells, also called scutes, were intentionally mislabeled as plastics and colored blue to try to disguise the shipment from authorities.

"It took probably 100 sea turtles to be killed to make this illegal shipment happen and that's a very rough estimate," FWC Director Aurelia Skipwith said. "Sea turtles are sometimes illegally killed for their shells, meat, eggs which have a commercial value on the black market."

The exact value of the seizure was unknown. Officials said they're trying to narrow down the details of what they seized.

"We need to figure out the species that were affected, the species that were actually in the shipment, 65 of them were determined to be hawks bill sea turtles, 35 were from green sea turtles," Skipwith said.

Contact Us