Oxnard man could face 20 years in prison for smuggling over 1,700 reptiles into the US

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Thursday, August 25, 2022
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A man from Oxnard pleaded guilty in a Los Angeles federal court for smuggling more than 1,700 reptiles into the U.S., including 60 reptiles hidden in his clothing.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- José Perez, 30, from Oxnard pleaded guilty in a Los Angeles federal court for smuggling more than 1,700 reptiles into the U.S., including 60 reptiles hidden in his clothes.

He's accused of shipping the animals to his family's Ventura County home and reselling them to customers across the U.S.

He entered pleas of two counts of smuggling and wildlife trafficking.

Prosecutors say Perez and his accomplices used social media to smuggle animals from Mexico and Hong Kong.

The reptiles that were smuggled included Yucatan box turtles, Mexican box turtles, baby crocodiles and Mexican beaded lizards according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Justice.

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

Perez could face up to 20 years in federal prison.

AP contributed to this report.