Former Brisbane Broncos and Sydney Roosters player Martin Kennedy has been arrested over his alleged connection to an international wildlife smuggling ring.
28-year-old Kennedy, who is currently serving a two-year suspension after breaching the NRL‘s anti-doping policy, was taken into custody after a police raid at his Bondi home.
The raid turned up “a large amount of cash” and a number of snakes, and Australian Federal Police allege that Kennedy is involved in the trafficking of reptiles.
They claim that Kennedy was involved in the shipment of 16 packages that arrived from Thailand last year, containing more than 200 animals.
The shipment from Thailand reportedly included “Chinese soft-shell turtles, alligator snapping turtles, snakehead fish, sugar gliders, veiled chameleons and freshwater stingrays.”
It is also alleged that Kennedy was involved in an attempt to ship packages containing more than 40 Australian shingleback lizards – which can fetch thousands on the black market – to Sweden.
The AFP say that the investigation involving Kennedy and a number of others has been “complex”, and that “the scale of criminality involved in the matter has been astounding.”
Kennedy has been charged with 40 offences against the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act and the Biosecurity Act, and could face up to ten years in prison.
In March 2015, Kennedy was hit with a ban by the NRL Tribunal for his use of performance enhancing drugs in the 2012 off-season; the ban was extended in light of allegation he had attempted to delete evidence from his phone.
Source: Daily Telegraph.
Photo: Mark Nolan / Getty.