San Diego

Man smuggled 1,700 reptiles from Mexico, Hong Kong

Border patrol brokers say they discovered about 60 lizards and snakes hidden in Jose Manuel Perez’s clothes on Feb. 25.

LOS ANGELES — A Southern California man is accused of smuggling greater than 1,700 reptiles — together with child crocodiles and Mexican beaded lizards — into the U.S. since 2016, authorities stated Thursday.

Jose Manuel Perez, often known as “Julio Rodriguez,” was taken into custody on Feb. 25 on the San Ysidro border crossing with Mexico.

Border patrol brokers discovered about 60 lizards and snakes tied up in small baggage, “which were concealed in the man’s jacket, pants pockets, and groin area,” authorities stated final month. Perez allegedly informed the brokers that the animals have been his pets.

Perez, 30, of Oxnard, has been in federal custody since then and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles on Thursday introduced extra prices on a superseding indictment that additionally contains Perez’s sister as a defendant.

Perez is scheduled to be arraigned in Los Angeles on Monday. His federal lawyer in San Diego declined to remark Thursday. Some of the smuggled reptiles have been protected and endangered species, authorities stated.

Beginning January 2016, Perez and his sister, in addition to others, are accused of utilizing social media to purchase and promote wildlife within the U.S. The animals, together with Yucatan and Mexican field turtles, have been allegedly imported from Mexico and Hong Kong with out permits.

The reptiles have been initially taken to Perez’s house in Missouri however later shipped to Oxnard when he moved to California, authorities stated. His sister assisted him within the smuggling business, prosecutors alleged, particularly throughout occasions when Perez was incarcerated within the U.S.

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