Two brothers have entered guilty pleas to serious biosecurity breaches after scorpions were smuggled into New Zealand from Australia.
James Alexander Grant, 24, electrician, of Arrowtown, and his brother Matthew Stuart Grant, 23, a builder, appeared before Judge Michael Turner in Queenstown District Court today charged with, respectively, possession and disposal of scorpions and possession and sale of scorpions.
Two others, Iszac William Walters, 23, and a fourth man, faced charges of various breaches of the Biosecurity Act after six Black Rock scorpions (Urodacus manicatus) were smuggled from Australia through Christchurch International Airport and then into Queenstown between February and April.
The four-month biosecurity investigation codenamed Operation Rock started in April and the ministry was satisfied all the scorpions were destroyed.
The brothers were convicted and remanded for sentence on November 18 while Walters, 23, will be sentenced in the Christchurch District Court on December 11.
The maximum penalty for the charges is five years' jail or a fine up to $100,000.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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