California teen gets prison for smuggling tiger cub into U.S.


SAN DIEGO — A California teen has been sentenced to six months in prison for smuggling in a Bengal tiger cub from Mexico. The defense attorney for 18-year-old Luis Valencia told the court Tuesday in San Diego before his sentencing that his client had a lapse in judgment and wanted the endangered tiger as a pet.

But prosecutors argued Valencia’s cellphone data showed he was running an animal smuggling business and boasted about getting thousands for monkeys, jaguars and lions.

The 6-week-old cub was found on the passenger-side floor in Valencia’s car in August at a San Diego border checkpoint. The tiger cub was named Moka, and now lives at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.  

Tigers are endangered and it’s illegal to import them without a permit.

Exotic animal smuggling has grown into a lucrative business in Mexico, the BBC reports. Earlier this month, Mexican police intercepted a tiger cub after someone tried to mail it — in a plastic crate — from the Mexican state of Jalisco to the state of Querétaro. 

A sniffer dog discovered the 2-month-old cub, who had been sedated.

Smuggled Tiger Cub
In this August 23, 2017, file photo provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection shows an agent holding a male tiger cub that was confiscated at the U.S. border crossing at Otay Mesa southeast of downtown San Diego.  U.S. Customs and Border Protection via AP

Read the full article at: cbsnews.com


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