angel A California man has smuggled more than 1,700 wild animals, including turtles, baby crocodiles and other reptiles, into the United States. At trial, he pleaded guilty to illegally bringing the animals into the country, valued at $739,000.
A Californian has smuggled more than 1,700 wild animals into the United States. Los Angeles prosecutors said on Wednesday (local time) that the 30-year-old pleaded guilty to illegally bringing animals into the country, worth $739,000. According to the information, it also included 60 reptiles which were hidden in small bags in the clothes of the man. In late February, the animals were found during an inspection at the US-Mexico border – according to prosecutors, three died during transportation.
The man, who hails from Ventura County, near Los Angeles, admitted in a conciliatory agreement with the prosecutor’s office that he illegally brought several wild animals into the United States between January 2016 and February 2022. He carried out smuggling through social media and also hired companions to cross the US-Mexico border with the animals. According to prosecutors, the animals, including small tortoises and baby crocodiles, were imported from Mexico and Hong Kong under the terms of the CITES Species Conservation Agreement or without proper ownership permits.
After being allowed to leave the detention center with ankle cuffs in May, the man got rid of the tracking device and fled to the Mexican border city of Tijuana. However, he was caught a month later and returned to US custody. He faces up to 20 years in prison for smuggling alone. A court hearing is to be held in December.