California man pleads guilty to smuggling 1,700 animals from Mexico - FaunaClassifieds
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Herps In The News Local or national articles where reptiles or amphibians have made it into the news media. Please cite sources.

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Old 08-25-2022, 03:19 AM   #1
Arachno
California man pleads guilty to smuggling 1,700 animals from Mexico

https://news.yahoo.com/california-ma...225340880.html

Quote:
LOS ANGELES (AP) A California man who smuggled more than 1,700 wild animals into the United States, including 60 reptiles hidden in his clothing, pleaded guilty Wednesday to federal charges.

Jose Manuel Perez, 30, of Oxnard, entered pleas to two counts of smuggling and a charge of wildlife trafficking.

Prosecutors said that from 2016 to this February, Perez and his accomplices used social media to arrange to smuggle animals from Mexico and Hong Kong. Most were reptiles and included Yucatan box turtles, Mexican box turtles, baby crocodiles and Mexican beaded lizards, according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Justice.

It is illegal to import the animals without permits under an international treaty on the trade of endangered species, the DOJ said.

Perez paid accomplices a crossing fee to drive animals from Mexico to El Paso, Texas, where he had them shipped to his family's Ventura County home and resold them to customers throughout the U.S., authorities said.

He also made some three dozen trips to Mexico himself to pick up animals, and on Feb. 25 he was arrested while trying to enter the U.S. with 60 reptiles hidden in bags of his clothing, prosecutors said. Three of the reptiles died.

The smuggled reptiles were worth about $739,000, authorities estimated.

Perez fled to Tijuana in June while out on bond but was quickly captured and returned to the U.S. He could face up to 20 years in federal prison for each smuggling count when he's sentenced on Dec. 1.
 
Old 08-25-2022, 08:31 AM   #2
Socratic Monologue
Thanks for posting this, Carlo.

Looks like this person has no ads here from that time period. He may have simply deleted them since, I don't know, but it may be that pressure from the community helped make those sales a little bit more difficult.

It is unfortunate that this pattern of trafficking across that border is common enough that it makes sense to doubt the legitimacy of any commonly smuggled Mexican animals being sold from that region of the US.

There are some people producing legal specimens of at least some of these species, but since it looks like smugglers are providing greater numbers of these animals a prudent buyer would simply refuse to believe a specimen is legit without air tight documentation. In other words, people like Perez are making all this more difficult for legit breeders. As if having a small reptile breeding business/self sustaining hobby isn't hard enough.
 
Old 08-25-2022, 09:52 AM   #3
nickolasanastasiou
He had ads here under various accounts and they were dealt with as swiftly as possible. Just an fyi.
 
Old 08-25-2022, 11:14 AM   #4
Socratic Monologue
Quote:
Originally Posted by nickolasanastasiou View Post
He had ads here under various accounts and they were dealt with as swiftly as possible. Just an fyi.
I should have considered that possibility when I speculated on the situation. It is hard to give credit when those who deserve it do things so quickly and quietly that we don't often notice it. Much appreciated, sincerely.
 
Old 08-25-2022, 11:29 AM   #5
nickolasanastasiou
It is perfectly reasonable to not consider it, I think, since so much is performed invisibly and at all sorts of odd hours. I appreciate you and other effort-making members of the keeping community, too, as it takes a network of people with a mutual goal of common good in mind in order to be most effective.
 
Old 08-25-2022, 04:08 PM   #6
boidsonly
That guy did our hobby no favors. FYI, each animal was worth, according to FWS, an average of $12,316.66...…
 
Old 08-25-2022, 04:15 PM   #7
nickolasanastasiou
The values you see in these cases are often made up by a CI or reflect a maximum value in any portion of the global market instead of what the defendant receives for them. Kind of a razzle dazzle show to impress the public with exaggerated numbers as well as claim larger achievements to justify agency budgeting. In short, not always accurate and commonly politically motivated for an organization.
 
Old 08-25-2022, 08:44 PM   #8
WebSlave
Quote:
Originally Posted by Socratic Monologue View Post
I should have considered that possibility when I speculated on the situation. It is hard to give credit when those who deserve it do things so quickly and quietly that we don't often notice it. Much appreciated, sincerely.
I would imagine that most people here do not have the slightest idea about how hard the moderators work at weeding out scammers from this site. My role is mostly taking care of server level issues and smacking down offshore spammers, with the moderators taking up the heavy lifting and a harder, more intense chore of sifting through the legitimate members to find the scammers lurking among them. Scammers are pretty good at hiding their true identities. Fortunately, the moderators here are even better at digging them out and escorting them out the door.

They are really the ones putting in the grunt work trying to keep those predatory cretins away from you all. Honestly, without their help, this site likely wouldn't be here today.
 

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