ISTANBUL (NEWSnet/AP) – A curator at the American Museum of Natural History was arrested in Istanbul on Monday for allegedly trying to smuggle spider and scorpion samples, Turkish media reported.

Lorenzo Prendini, an arachnid expert at the New York-based museum, was stopped by police at Istanbul airport. He reportedly tried to take about 1,500 samples out of the country, news media reported.

According to Anadolu news agency, Prendini was arrested for attempting to smuggle species found in Turkey. In emailed comments to The Associated Press, Prendini said he appeared before a judge and was released without charge.

Prendini said police had ignored the Turkish government’s permits to conduct research in collaboration with that country’s scientists.

The museum’s website lists Prendini as curator of the spider, scorpion, centipede and centipede collections.

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