Chevy Camaro-Driving Teen Caught Smuggling Baby Tiger Across US-Mexico Border

Chevy Camaro-Driving Teen Caught Smuggling Baby Tiger Across US-Mexico Border

Chevy Camaro-Driving Teen Caught Smuggling Baby Tiger Across US-Mexico Border

18-year-old Luis Eudoro Valencia, who hails from Perris in California, was arrested and faced charges on Thursday of attempting to smuggle a Bengal tiger across the border into the U.S. During the inspection, the vehicle was searched and a tiger cub was located lying on the floor of the front passenger seat. The passenger told inspectors the animal was "just a cat", according to an affidavit filed by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Special Agent Eduardo Nieves.

The driver (a US citizen) was arrested and transported to the Metropolitan Correctional Center.

Officials said that cub, named Blanca, ended up living at the San Diego Zoo's Safari Park for many years.

In 1992, a white Bengal tiger cub that was being smuggled into through the San Ysidro port of entry was found in the back seat of a auto; the cub was named later named Blanca and lived at the San Diego Zoo for many years. Valencia, who officials said "failed to declare the cub" to agents, stated that "he had purchased the tiger for $300 from an individual he encountered walking a full-sized tiger on a leash in Tijuana".

All types of tigers are secured under the U.S. Jeopardized Species Act.

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Additional information on importing and exporting endangered species is available here.

Prosecutors said Valencia lacked the permit and declaration. The work of San Diego Zoo Global is made possible by the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy and is supported in part by the Foundation of San Diego Zoo Global. Bengal tigers are native to India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan. There are fewer than 3,000 left in the wild.

If convicted of smuggling the protected species, Valencia could face up to 20 years in prison. Valencia could not be immediately reached for comment nor could his court-appointed attorney.

Valencia has since been released on a $10,000 bond and ordered to appear for a preliminary hearing on September 5.

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