U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers intercepted a man attempting to smuggle 52 live reptiles under his clothes on Feb 25.
The man, a U.S. citizen was driving a truck through the San Ysidro border crossing when a CBP officer referred the vehicle for further inspection, according to a CBP media release posted on March 8.
Officers seized bags containing 43 horned lizards and nine snakes, which were tucked into the man’s jacket and pants.
“Smugglers will try every possible way to try and get their product, or in this case, live reptiles, across the border,” CBP Director of Field Operations in San Diego Sidney Aki said.
Some of the species found on the man have been identified as endangered.
“This Seizure is the direct result of a coordinated investigative effort by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) San Diego, U.S. Fish, and Wildlife, and Customs and Border Protection,” Special Agent in Charge for HSI San Diego Chad Plantz said in the media release. “HSI will continue to investigate individuals who are involved in the unlawful smuggling and trafficking of endangered wildlife for their own financial gain.”
The man was arrested and transferred to the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, HSI, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services.