Snakes on the plane: Jakarta police foil smuggling bid

An Indonesian customs officer shows a python snake, part of a haul discovered at the Sukarno-Hatta airport outside Jakarta on 26 March 2011
Image caption Customs officers found the sedated pythons in the men's bags

Indonesian customs officials have arrested two men suspected of trying to take 40 snakes on to a flight to Dubai.

The two were about to enter the departure area at Jakarta airport when X-rays showed their bags were filled with sedated pythons, officials say.

The two suspects told investigators they planned to sell the animals to collectors in the United Arab Emirates, the AP news agency reports.

They face up to seven years in jail if found guilty of attempted smuggling.

"People often use the flights to Dubai to smuggle illegal animals," an official at Jakarta airport told AFP news agency.

"For the sake of flight safety and security, no animals are allowed to be brought on to aircraft without permission and special handling," the official, Salahudin Rafi, added.

The pythons have been taken to the animal quarantine centre at Jakarta's Sukarno-Hatta airport.

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