A Fountain Valley man was arrested Tuesday after allegedly attempting to smuggle dozens of exotic birds into the U.S. from Vietnam, according to U.S. Customer and Border Protection.
Federal agents discovered a total of 93 birds — 50 live, 43 dead — concealed in the man’s luggage when he arrived at Los Angeles International Airport from Ho Chi Minh City on March 24, a CBP news release stated.
After being seized, the birds were placed into quarantine; only eight of them survived, according to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services.
“Importing certain illegal wildlife, such as these avian species, can not only introduce communicable animal diseases into the United States, but they can also pose a threat to our local ecosystem,” Jill Birchell, FWS Special Agent in Charge, said in the release.
The man — identified only as a U.S. citizen who resides in Fountain Valley — was arrested after some of the birds were found to be endangered species protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, according to investigators.
He has been charged with smuggling goods into the U.S., the release stated. The felony carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.
The suspect was released on bond after appearing in court on Tuesday. His next scheduled court date is June 5, authorities said.