Man who tried to cross border with snakes in socks pleads guilty

By Ben Hooper  |  Oct. 5, 2017 at 10:58 AM
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Oct. 5 (UPI) -- A Canada resident pleaded guilty to violating wildlife regulations after he was caught trying to smuggle live snakes into the country in his socks.

Chaoyi Le, 28, a Chinese national who resides in Mississauga, Ontario, pleaded guilty to violating wildlife regulations Tuesday in a U.S. court, the Mississauga News reported.

The U.S. Attorney's office said Le was stopped on the Queenstown-Lewiston bridge while trying to enter Canada from New York state and authorities found he was hiding three albino Western hog-nosed snakes in his socks. Investigators said he had planned to mail the snakes to China.

Prosecutors said earlier the same day, Le had mailed seven live ball pythons from Amherst to Shanghai through the U.S. Postal Service in a package that bore a false name on the return address and purported to contain belts, candy and chocolate, the Buffalo News reported.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service inspected the package and seized the snakes, which had an estimated value of $3,300.

Le failed to report for court in 2014, but was arrested during the summer in Los Angeles when he got off a flight from Shanghai.

Le, who faces up to five years in jail, is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 30 in U.S. District Court.

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