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Thailand Cobra Seizure: Officials Rescue 600 Smuggled Snakes

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An official shows one of 600 cobras seized by the Thai Customs Department at a press conference in Bangkok Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012. The snakes were contained in sacks and plastic containers on a pickup truck and were being delivered to a foreign destination, according to authorities. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
An official shows one of 600 cobras seized by the Thai Customs Department at a press conference in Bangkok Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012. The snakes were contained in sacks and plastic containers on a pickup truck and were being delivered to a foreign destination, according to authorities. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

BANGKOK -- Thai authorities have seized a pickup truck full of deadly cobras at a checkpoint in the country's central region. They believe the snakes came from Malaysia and were destined for a third country for use in traditional medicine or human consumption.

Thai Customs chief Benja Louicharoen said Tuesday that officials found 600 cobras worth about 500,000 baht ($16,500) in mesh bags inside plastic baskets in the truck.

Officials arrested the Thai driver after the suspicious vehicle was stopped 210 kilometers (130 miles) south of Bangkok.

Benja said the man confessed that he was delivering the snakes to northeast Thailand where they were to be smuggled over the border into Laos.

Thailand is a major transit country for illegal wildlife trafficking in Asia.

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