The meeting of strangers in a parking lot looks like a typical undercover bust until the dealer reaches for his Tupperware container.
Inside is a northern map turtle and before the turtle snatcher can tuck more than $100 into his pocket, he’s being arrested.
If it was a rarer turtle, he’d have wanted a trade, maybe a couple of endangered snakes. And that could tip off undercover officers to a larger black market poaching or smuggling operation warranting more surveillance or a joint investigation with U.S. officials.
Whether it’s a poacher involved in the illegal pet trade or a cottager unwittingly snatching an endangered turtle, these are the types of scenarios undercover officers with the Ministry of Natural Resources have confronted as they stepped up their enforcement in the last decade....