Man Arrested for Smuggling King Cobras in Potato Chip Cans

A Monterey Park man has been arrested for smuggling king cobras and three soft-shelled turtles.

Rodrigo Franco was charged with one count of illegally importing merchandise into the United States.

United States Customs and Border Protection officials inspected a package sent from Hong Kong to Franco and found three live king cobra snakes and three albino Chinese soft-shelled turtles, inside of it.

After their discovery, agents with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and United States Fish and Wildlife Service launched a search of Franco's home.

Authorities found a tank containing a live baby crocodile, tanks with alligator snapping turtles and five diamond back terrapins.

A news release by the United States Attorney’s Office says when interviewed, Franco admitted he previously received 20 king cobras in two prior shipments, but the snakes died in transit.

If convicted of the smuggling charge, Franco could get a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.

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