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Bali Officials Stopped Tourist From Smuggling Orangutan Through Airport

Balinese officials saved a drugged baby orangutan from a Russian tourist who tried to smuggle the primate in his luggage.

Andrei Zhestkov, 27, was detained at Ngurah Rai International Airport on Friday when the two-year-old orangutan was discovered sleeping in a rattan during a security screening.

Zhestkov had packed baby formula and blankets for the primate. Two geckos and five lizards were also found in the suitcase.

“We believe the orangutan was fed allergy pills which caused him to sleep. We found the pills inside the suitcase,” Bali conservation agency official I Ketut Catur Marbawa said in a statement.

“[Zhestkov] seemed prepared, like he was transporting a baby,” he added.

Russian accused of trying to smuggle drugged orangutan from Bali #jakpost

— The Jakarta Post (@jakpost) March 23, 2019

Zhestkov claims the orangutan was a gift from a friend who bought it for $3,000 in a street market in Java.

His friend apparently informed him that he could bring the orangutan home as a pet. Zhestkov will now face up to five years in prison and $7,000 in fines for smuggling the endangered species.

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