Forget the musical, there’s a new ‘Spider-man’ in town. But he doesn’t sing – he smuggles.
Sven Koppler, 37, has been charged with smuggling for shipping 247 live tarantulas — live tarantulas! — to federal prosecutors posing as buyers.
“Operation Spiderman” started last March when a random inspection revealed about 300 tarantulas in a box Kopler mailed to a Los Angeles address. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agents then ordered some spiders, eventually recieving about 5 boxes of the critters.
All told, Kopler, a German national, reportedly made about $300,000 in the spider trade, shipping arachnids to buyers in nine countries.
He now faces up to 20 years in prison and a potential fine of $250 000 for importing protected wildlife.
Talk about getting caught in your own web. (via Reuters)