Police found more than 50 exotic snakes and reptiles in a car while conducting spot checks around Rome's Termini station on 12 September.
The police decided to search the car after becoming suspicious of its passengers, a male and female, and made the discovery in the vehicle’s boot.
Among the 51 animals found in plastic and polystyrene containers – all unsuitable for animal transport – were an albino python and several large South American tegu lizards.
Officials from Italy’s state forestry department seized the reptiles and are currently investigating their origin in compliance with the Washington Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
The defendants, from Reggio Calabria in southern Italy, were charged with maltreatment of animals as well as possession and trade in protected species.