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Man pleads guilty to bird smuggling

September 29, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
A Garden Grove man changed his plea to guilty Tuesday to smuggling songbirds into Los Angeles from Vietnam.Prosecutors say 46-year-old Sony Dong got the live birds into the United States by wrapping more than a dozen of them in cloth and strapping them to his legs and ankles, under his pants.

He originally pleaded not guilty in May after being arrested in March. It's unclear why he changed his plea.

Dong is facing one count of illegally importing wildlife which carries with it a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison.

A second suspect has already pleaded not guilty to smuggling charges.

The trial of 34-year-old Duc Le is scheduled to begin next month.

He was arrested after investigators found 51 songbirds at his house.

AP contributed to this report.

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