Feb. 12 (UPI) -- Malaysian authorities busted two pangolin processing plants that had nearly 30 tons of the banned meat ready for shipment around the world.
The largest pangolin discovery in Malaysia's history included 1,800 boxes, another 572 whole pangolins in freezers and 61 live animals kept in cages. They also found nearly 800 pounds of pangolin scales.
Police raided the facility in Kota Kinabalu last week and found a second location a few miles away in Tamparuili. A 35-year-old man was arrested after leading investigators to one of the plants.
Police said it's the largest discovery of pangolin products in Malaysia's history.
"It is hoped that comprehensive investigations can lead to unmasking the syndicate and networks operating from the state and beyond," Kanitha Krashnasamy, Southeast Asia director of the monitoring group TRAFFIC, said in a statement. "Detecting large volumes of pangolin smuggling is no easy feat and Sabah authorities are congratulated for pursuing and taking down this smuggling operation."
The Borneo state of Sabah is a critical transit point for pangolin meat between Asia and Africa. Counting the latest seizure, Malaysia has found more than 40 tons of meat since August 2017.
The discovery followed other large seizures of pangolin scales in Vietnam, Hong Kong and Uganda.