A man has been arrested after trying to slither past US border agents with 52 lizards and snakes hidden in his clothing, authorities said on Tuesday.
The 30-year-old man was driving a truck when he arrived at the San Ysidro border crossing between Mexico and California at around 3am on February 25, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said in a statement.
Authorities searched the man and his truck and found 52 live reptiles tied up in small bags “which were concealed in the man’s jacket, pants pockets, and groin area”.
Nine snakes and 43 horned lizards were seized.
The live reptiles were placed in a secure and safe area. They will remain in quarantine due to some species being identified as endangered.
“Smugglers will try every possible way to try and get their product, or in this case live reptiles, across the border,” Sidney Aki, CBP Director of Field Operations in San Diego, said.
“In this occasion, the smuggler attempted to deceive CBP officers in order to bring these animals into the US, without taking care for the health and safety of the animals.
“CBP enforces hundreds of laws at the border for more than 40 different government agencies, in part to help stop smuggling attempts like these which can lead to trafficking of possibly endangered species.”
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