Trouser snakes: US smuggler admits carrying reptiles in pants
Published: Aug 25, 2022 07:08 PM
A man who hid snakes and lizards in his trousers as he tried to sneak them into the US as part of a $750,000 reptile smuggling enterprise faces decades in prison, officials said Wednesday.

Jose Manuel Perez masterminded the six-year scheme from his home in southern California, which involved bringing 1,700 animals into the US from Mexico.

In a plea deal with the Department of Justice, Perez acknowledged that he had paid mules to transport some of his illicit cargo, and at other times had made border crossings himself.

The animals that he netted, which included Yucatan box turtles, Mexican box turtles, baby crocodiles and Mexican beaded lizards, were sold to clients across the country for upwards of $739,000, documents show.

His downfall came in March when he tried to drive from Mexico with 60 creatures secreted around his groin and in other parts of his clothing.

Three of the reptiles were dead.