Man caught with over 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: US Customs and Border Patrol

An American was arrested border recentlytrying to sneak over 50 live reptiles in the country while tucked into his jacket and pants, according to WE Customs and border protection.

This all happened around 3 a.m. on February 25 at the San Ysidro border crossing in San Diego. When officers conducted an inspection, they found 52 bags full of live animals, hidden inside the 30-year-old’s jacket, trouser pockets and even in his pants. Animals recovered included 43 horned lizards and nine snakes.


“Smugglers will try to get their product, or in this case live reptiles, across the border in any way they can,” said Sidney Aki, director of field operations for CBP in San Diego. “On this occasion, the smuggler attempted to trick CBP officers into bringing these animals to the United States, without taking care of the animals’ health and safety.”

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Some of the recovered species are endangered. All reptiles have been 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 the U.S. Fish Services. and wildlife. In addition to the reptiles, the man’s car was also seized.

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Elizabeth J. Harless