Santiago Astata, Oaxaca — More than 30,000 sea turtle eggs were confiscated by environmental officials in Oaxaca after federal police discovered a group of men selling them.
The arrests were made after an investigation by members from La Unidad Especializada en Investigación de Delitos contra el Ambiente (the specialized unit for crimes against the environment) in Mexico City. The special laws division implemented an operation which resulted in the seizure of more than 30,000 olive ridley turtle eggs.
The specialized investigators report that five men were arrested in the municipality of Santiago Astata in the stretch known as La Pozolita during their operation. The arrest was made by federal police on the Huatulco-Salina Cruz highway.
The arrests came after the five men in two cars were trying to sell the sea turtle eggs. They were on their way to Salina Cruz to market them.
There are only two sea turtle sanctuaries along the coast of Oaxaca for the olive ridley turtle. One is located in Playa Ventanilla and the other in Morro Ayuta. Both beaches are reportedly protected by the National Commission of Protected Natural Areas and the Secretariat of the Navy.
However, in the more than 30 kilometers of beach where the sea turtles lay eggs, the locals are their main predator in the area of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec where they consume turtle eggas are part of the traditional diet.
The news of the sea turtle egg looting comes at the same time as the death of more than 100 sea turtles along the coast of Oaxaca.