Traveler Tried to Smuggle Tiger Cub by Telling Customs It Was a Cat
Customs and Border Patrol at the Otay Mesa southern U.S. border arrested a California teenager for attempting to smuggle a tiger cub into the country from Mexico.
Luis Valencia, 18, a resident of Perris, California, was caught hiding the tiger cub on the floor of the passenger's seat of his car and tried to tell border patrol that it was just a cat, CBS News reported.
Valencia at first said that he bought the cub on the street but later admitted to planning the transaction in advance online and paying $300 for the cub in Tijuana, Mexico, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The Customs and Border Patrol of San Diego shared photographs of the adorable cub on their Twitter account:
Smuggling exotic animals is a crime, and Valencia faces up to 20 years in jail.
It's not the first time someone has attempted to smuggle the endangered species across the U.S.-Mexico border. Another man tried to smuggle a tiger cub 20 years ago across the border and was caught. The tiger, later named Blanca, was rescued and spent much of her life in the San Diego Safari Park, according to The Telegraph.