GENEVA Swiss customs officials say they intercepted a man at Zurich airport carrying hundreds of endangered spiders in his luggage.
Customs officials found 261 Mexican red-kneed tarantulas packed into individual plastic bags inside six boxes belonging to a Swiss man arriving from the Dominican Republic in August.
Officials said Wednesday that the shipment was destined for an unidentified Swiss dealer.
A search of the dealer's home uncovered 665 further tarantulas and 72 giant flesh-eating centipedes that had also been smuggled into Switzerland. Together they could have sold for up to 15,000 Swiss francs ($16,700).
Experts say animals are the third-most trafficked item in Switzerland after weapons and drugs.