Sunday, August 13, 2017

Cobras in potato chip cans lead to man's arrest on smuggling charges

The discovery of three deadly king cobras in potato chip cans led to the arrest of a Southern California man on suspicion of illegally importing the snakes and other reptiles. Rodrigo Franco, was taken into custody after United States Customs and Border Protection inspected a package from Hong Kong and discovered the three live, 2-foot-long snakes crammed into potato chip canisters. King cobras are protected under the Endangered Species Act and their import or export is banned.
The parcel also contained three albino Chinese soft-shelled turtles. Franco also sent six protected turtles -- desert box turtles, three-toed box turtles and ornate box turtles -- from the United States to Hong Kong, but that shipment was intercepted. Franco, 34, was charged with one count of illegally importing merchandise into the United States. During a subsequent interview with authorities, He had received 20 king cobras in two prior shipments, but said all those snakes died in transit.