Man pleads guilty in San Diego court to smuggling tiger cub from - The CW San Diego - News 8

Man pleads guilty in San Diego court to smuggling tiger cub from Mexico

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(U.S. Customs and Border Protection via AP, File) (U.S. Customs and Border Protection via AP, File)

SAN DIEGO (AP) — A man who smuggled a Bengal tiger cub into California from Mexico has pleaded guilty to federal charges.

Eighteen-year-old Luis Valencia of Perris entered the plea on Tuesday in San Diego.

The 6-week-old cub was found on the passenger-side floor in Valencia's car in August at a San Diego border checkpoint.

Tigers are endangered and it's illegal to import them without a permit.

Valencia told authorities he obtained the animal as a pet but later acknowledged he was bringing it into the U.S. for commercial purposes.

He now faces up to five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.

Another defendant is awaiting trial.

The tiger cub was named Moka and now lives at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

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