Two persons from Ecuador and Nigeria, who were caught for trying to smuggle out snake venom from Nedumbassery airport, have been sentenced to three years of rigorous imprisonment by the Judicial First Class Magistrate in Perumbavoor.
The convicts, Solano Reyes Jimmy Vincent, of Ecuador, and Austin Odiase, a Nigerian national, also have to pay a fine of `10,000 each.
In January 2012, Vincent was found carrying 16 latex condoms filled with yellow-coloured snake venom when trying to board a flight to Chennai from Nedumbassery airport.
Even though Odiase escaped from the airport after the arrest of Vincent, he was later arrested by the railway police following an alert.
Forest officials said the venom was extracted from cobra. Export of snake venom is protected under the Wildlife Protection Act 1977, and a licence from the Directorate General of Foreign Trade is required for it.
These persons did not have any kind of licence for exporting the venom. After the sentencing, they were shifted to Viyyur Central Jail. Both are likely to appeal before the Ernakulam District and Sessions Court soon.