Infotech specialist arrested in Marikina for illegal possession and sale of tarantulas, pythons
An information technology specialist was arrested in Marikina City for illegal possession and sale of live tarantulas and pythons.
A report from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources on Saturday identified the suspect as Rommel dela Cruz, 38.
Operatives from Philippine Operations Group on Ivory and Illegal Wildlife Trade or Task Force POGI arrested Dela Cruz last October 9 after receiving the marked money from National Bureau of Investigation-Environmental Crime Division (NBI-ECD) agents who posed as buyers of a pair of tarantulas he was selling.
After searching Dela Cruz's residence, the task force found in Dela Cruz’s possession 11 more tarantulas of different breeds?Brazilian Whiteknee (Acanthoscurria geniculata), Mexican Golden Redrump (Brachypelma albiceps), Mexican Pink (Brachypelma Klaasi), Mexican Redleg (Brachypelma emilia), Chilean Rose (Grammostola rosea) and Bolivian Redrump (Acanthoscurria chacoana).
“He was selling off all the tarantulas at a discounted price of P20,000 so he could buy his plane ticket,” according to DENR’s Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) senior ecosystems management specialist Rogelio Demellentes Jr., adding each tarantula could sell at P1,500 in the black market.
The task force also recovered from Dela Cruz five ball pythons (Python reguis), which he was selling at a wholesale price of P86,000.
Demellentes said Dela Cruz was set to leave for Canada to start a job.
NBI-ECD chief Czar Eric Nuqui said Dela Cruz was unable to present any permit or document proving that he was authorized to possess and trade wildlife species.
He said Dela Cruz could be held liable for violating Republic Act 9147 or the Wildlife Conservation and Protection Act, which defines and penalizes illegal possession and trading of wildlife species.
Under the law, violators could face a jail term of up to 12 years and a fine of not more than P1 million. Ella Dionisio/ DMS