A burgeoning freshwater crocodile breeding business in the Mekong Delta has spurred smuggling from Cambodia.
Police in the An Giang Province seized 48 crocodiles in three different trafficking cases which had been stolen out of Cambodia's Tonlé Sap Lake.
The saurians were transported via motorbike by an An Giang local named Nguyen Van Thong, 35, who was arrested on July 18.
During his arrest, police say, Thong was found to be carrying an assortment of other reptiles and snakes.
Last month, economic investigators confiscated 5,500 young crocodiles in two trafficking cases.
The police said they could not determine the animals' place of origin because all of the suspects fled during their raids.
It is legal to breed crocodiles in Vietnam but illegal to import them or capture them in the wild.
Figures from the An Giang Forest Management Department showed that the province has bred around 90,000 crocodiles at 35 farms.
Le Tam Quy, a Forest Managment official, said the capture and trade of wild crocodiles is unlawful. Those who wish to transport the reptiles have to demonstrate proof of legitimate origin in order to obtain a permit.
Recently, smuggled Cambodian crocodiles caused deadly outbreaks among domesticated populations in the delta.
Two weeks ago, a mass die-off took place at dozens of croc farms in Bac Lieu Province. The cause of death is not certain, officials say, though they suspect that the animals were obtained from dubious sources and kept in unsanitary conditions.