California man arrested

Smuggling king cobras in potato chip canisters

A man was sentenced to five months in federal prison for smuggling three highly venomous king cobra snakes through the mail in potato chip canisters. Rodrigo Franco acknowledged smuggling another 20 cobras into Los Angeles, but said they all died in transit.

The three king cobras -each about half a meter long- were found last March when Customs and Border Protection officers inspected a package that was mailed from Hong Kong, prosecutors said.

According to the New York Post, Federal agents removed the cobras but delivered the turtles to Franco’s home in Monterey Park. When they later served a search warrant there, they found tanks with a live baby Morelet’s crocodile, alligators, snapping turtles, a common snapping turtle and five diamond back terrapins. Prosecutors say all of the reptiles are protected under U.S. law.

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