MEXICO CITY – Two containers filled with endangered totoaba fish – prized in China for their purported medicinal and libidinal qualities – were confiscated at Tijuana’s international airport, Mexican authorities said Thursday.
Federal Police became suspicious about what was in the containers and they called in specialists from Profepa, Mexico’s environmental protection agency.
The specialists determined that the containers held body parts corresponding to 52 totoaba, Profepa said in a statement.
The species is native to Mexico’s Sea of Cortez, where overfishing pushed the totoaba to the verge of extinction before the Mexican government imposed a ban in 1975.
Capable of reaching up to 2 meters (6.5 ft.) in length and often weighing more than 100 kilos (220 lbs.), the totoaba can sell for as much as $60,000 a kilo in Asia.
In 2015, the Mexican navy said that the illegal trade in totoaba had become more lucrative than smuggling cocaine.