ISTANBUL — Turkish police arrested a man suspected of trying to smuggle valuable poisonous spiders and scorpions out of the country, with state media identifying the suspect on Monday as a curator at New York’s American Museum of Natural History.

Police arrested the suspect at Istanbul Airport on Sunday and seized dozens of bags from his luggage containing some 1,500 scorpions and spiders, including tarantulas, as well as dozens of plastic bottles containing unspecified liquids, police said.

The state-owned Anadolu news agency reported the suspect was Lorenzo Prendini, a curator at the historic US museum, without specifying a source.

The American Museum of Natural History did not immediately respond to a request for comment and Mr. Prendini could not be reached.

Police said the specimens seized were endemic to Turkey and that their DNA could be copied and their poisons milked for use in making medicines. The suspect faces charges under anti-smuggling law, it added without giving a name.

“It is understood that these medicines have very high financial values and therefore taking these animal species abroad is strictly forbidden,” it said.

It said research showed that the market value of one liter of medicine obtained from scorpion venom was worth $10 million. — Reuters