Teen pleads guilty to smuggling Bengal tiger cub into the U.S.

Eighteen-year-old Luis Valencia, who smuggled a Bengal tiger cub into California from Mexico last year pleaded guilty to federal charges on December 5, 2017 in San Diego.

The 6-week-old cub was found on the passenger-side floor in Valencia’s car last summer at a San Diego border checkpoint. Valencia told authorities he obtained the animal as a pet but later acknowledged he was bringing the cub into the U.S. for commercial purposes.

He now faces up to five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine. Another defendant is awaiting trial.

The tiger cub named Moka lives at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Tigers are classified as an endangered species; it is illegal to import them without a permit.

See “Teen tells judge he bought tiger cub on streets of Tijuana,” and “National Zoological Park sends its Sumatran tiger cub to be with cub in San Diego

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