Timika, Papua (ANTARA News) - Mimika police foiled an attempt to smuggle out 10,914 pig-nose turtles from Timika last Sunday (Dec 26).
Mimika Police Chief Adjunct Senior Commissioner Mochammad Sagi on Wednesday confirmed the busting of the smuggling operation.
The confiscated turtles would be released into the Wania River, Paumako harbor, Mimika Timur District, on Thursday (Dec 30), he said.
One person identified as Jemmy was arrested in the case, and the police were still investigating several other witnesses.
Jemmy admitted that he had planned to dispatch the turtles out of Timika within the next few days.
Police raided Jemmy`s house in the Kamoro SP1 Timika area on Sunday (Dec 26) after receiving a tip-off from local people.
In addition to the pig-nose turtles, the police also found and seized a package of crystal methamphetamine in Jemmy`s house.
In March 2009, the Papua Natural Resources Conservation Center (BKSDA) released over 10,000 pig-nosed turtles, a species endemic to the province, into the Otakwa River in the Lorentz National Park.
The turtles were seized by the Mimika Police and a BKSDA team in Timika in February 2009.
They were poached in East Mimika district and to be smuggled out of the province. Pig-nose turtles (Carettochelys insculpta) are protected under Law No. 7/1999 on preservation of plant and animal species.