Two charged with turtle smuggling
A grand jury in Los Angeles has indicted two men from Japan for allegedly smuggling more than 50 live turtles and tortoises into the United States.
US attorney's office spokesman Thom Mrozek said Atsushi Yamagami and Norihide Ushirozako were indicted on counts of animal smuggling, conspiracy and wildlife trafficking.
Each man could receive up to 26 years in prison if convicted of all charges.
The two Osaka men were arrested this month at Los Angeles International Airport. Federal prosecutors say they hid the reptiles in snack food boxes found in a suitcase.
The indictment alleges the men planned to sell or trade the smuggled turtles. The arrests were tied to an undercover investigation that began last year into a turtle-smuggling operation.
The men are scheduled to be arraigned on Monday morning and are being held without bond.