Officials seize iguana meat at the border
By Debbi Baker
12:40 p.m., June 15, 2011
SAN DIEGO — Officials seized several pounds of iguana meat worth an estimated $4,500 that was being smuggled into the United States in containers of fish, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials said Wednesday.
The meat was discovered June 7 inside a vehicle being driven into the United States at the Otay Mesa Port of Entry, agency spokeswoman Jackie Wasiluk said.
The driver, a 37-year-old U.S. citizen, declared that he was bringing three large coolers of fish from Mexico into the country but he did not declare the reptile meat, Wasiluk said.
When inspectors examined the containers they found 159 pounds of it hidden underneath the fish.
Agents with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service were called who seized the meat and cited the man, Wasiluk said.
He was ordered to appear in federal court July 7 and will face charges of smuggling and violating the tenents of the Convention on International Trade of endangered Species, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Inspector said.
The act regulates the export and import of the reptile as well as several other species across borders.
According to the U.S. Fish and wildlife Service, it can be legally brought into the country by licensed importers who must have a permit from Mexico and file a declaration with the United States.
The name of the man was not released.