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Riverside County teen accused of trying to smuggle tiger cub into U.S. from Mexico

A Riverside County teenager has been charged with trying to smuggle an endangered Bengal tiger cub into the country from Mexico, federal prosecutors said Thursday.

Luis Valencia, 18, of Perris, was charged with one count of unlawful importation of wildlife after agents with U.S. Customs and Border Protection found the cub seated on the floor of his car during a vehicle inspection at the Otay Mesa border crossing Wednesday, according to a news release issued by the U.S. attorney’s office in San Diego.

Valencia and a passenger in the vehicle said they had nothing to declare when they were first approached by agents, according to a criminal complaint in the matter. But an agent noticed the tiger cub seated between the passenger’s legs at a secondary inspection station, court records said.

Valencia initially told investigators that he purchased the cub earlier in the week from a man who was walking a “full-sized tiger on a leash” through the streets of Tijuana, according to the criminal complaint. He said he planned to keep the tiger cub as a pet at his home, according to the complaint.

Source: us rutur

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