Man caught with more than 50 live reptiles under his clothes at San Diego border crossing

Snakes in bags (left) and Horned lizards (right) found during a smuggling attempt at the San Diego border. Photo: U.S. Customs and Border Patrol

An American man was caught at the border recently, trying to sneak more than 50 live reptiles into the country while tucked in his jacket and pants, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

This all happened around 3 a.m. on Feb. 25, at the San Ysidro border crossing in San Diego. When officers performed an inspection, they found 52 bags filled with live animals, tucked inside the 30-year-old's jacket, pant pockets, and even in his pants. The animals recovered included 43 horned lizards and nine snakes. 


"Smugglers will try every possible way to try and get their product, or in this case live reptiles, across the border, said Sidney Aki, CBP Director of Field Operations in San Diego. "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." 

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Some of the species recovered are endangered. All the reptiles were seized and will remain in quarantine

CBP did not say what prompted the stop and search at the border, but the driver was arrested and turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services. In addition to the reptiles, the man's car was also seized.

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