Customs agents in California seize tiger cub from teen driver

By Ben Hooper  |  Aug. 25, 2017 at 9:10 AM
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Aug. 25 (UPI) -- Customs officers in California said they seized a tiger cub from a Chevy Camaro attempting to pass into the United States from Mexico.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection said the vehicle arrived at San Diego's Otay Mesa port of entry about 1:30 a.m. Wednesday with an 18-year-old man driving and a 21-year-old man in the passenger seat.

The vehicle was referred for further inspection, and officers found a tiger cub lying on the floor on the front passenger side of the Camaro.

The officers placed the tiger in an animal crate and summoned agents from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to the scene.

"CBP officers are often faced with unusual situations," said Pete Flores, director of field operations for CBP in San Diego. "The CBP officers at the Otay Mesa port of entry met the challenge head on and assisted in preserving the life of this endangered species."

The driver, a U.S. citizen, was arrested and taken to the Metropolitan Correctional Center to await arraignment on animal smuggling charges. It was unclear whether the passenger was also detained.

The Fish & Wildlife agents took custody of the baby tiger and are working with San Diego Zoo Global to make certain it receives the proper care.

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