Police arrested two men in West Bay last week on suspicion of taking marine life after finding a shell of an endangered green sea turtle with blood on it in their car.

A subsequent search of a premises revealed a package of turtle meat.

The men were arrested on 21 Aug. when police and Customs and Border Control Service officers conducted a joint operation at an address on Up The Hill Road.

During the operation, officers searched a vehicle at the residence and recovered a package containing suspected ganja. They arrested a 27‑year-old man, of Bodden Town, on suspicion of possession and consumption of ganja.

During a further search of the vehicle, officers discovered the turtle shell, and found the turtle meat inside the residence.

The 27‑year-old man was further arrested on suspicion of taking marine life without being licensed. A second man, age 39 of West Bay, was also arrested on suspicion of the same offence.

Both men were granted bail as investigations continue.

“Although our initial search was conducted based on possible drug offences, the marine offence that was detected is quite significant,” said Detective Superintendent Peter Lansdown in an RCIPS press release. “As the police service, it is part of our remit to investigate and prosecute these offenses as well, in conjunction with our partner agencies, and it is a responsibility we take very seriously.”

Janice Blumenthal of the Department of Environment said the shell had been taken from an adult green sea turtle, one of fewer than 150 such animals left in the wild around the Cayman Islands. “It is also the second turtle shell recovered in an apparent poaching incident within the past month on Grand Cayman,” she said.

“Although the Department of Environment has seen a steady increase in the number of turtle nests in recent years, poaching of even a few endangered adult sea turtles can lead to a reversal of that trend very quickly,” she added.

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