‘Spider-Man’ Pleads Guilty to Tarantula Smuggling

  • Share
  • Read Later
REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

Insect keeper with a red kneed bird-eating tarantula during the ZSL London Zoo's annual inventory count in London January 4, 2011

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.

(Read more about Spider-Man, the musical)

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)


The laws are stupid and based on fearmongering lies. More effort should be aimed at real criminals who tend to be violent. There are other importation businesses that cause alot of very real harm, yet the agent Montouris of the world cant be bothered to go after them because it isnt safe.