Saturday, December 8,2012
Miami Man Guilty of Smuggling Birds from Cuba After 16 "Negritos de Cuba" Found in His Pants.
Alberto Diaz Gonzalez pled guilty to attempting to
import undeclared wildlife from Cuba after a total of 16 Cuban
bullfinches (Melopyrrha nigra) or “Negritos de Cuba” were found
concealed in his pants.
MIAMI -- Alberto Diaz Gonzalez, 76, of Miami, pled guilty today in
Miami, for his involvement in an attempt to import undeclared wildlife
from Cuba, in violation of the federal anti-smuggling statute, Title 18,
United States Code, Section 545, according to Wifredo A. Ferrer, United
States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Resident Agent in
Charge David Pharo, United States Fish & Wildlife Service, Alysa
Erichs, Special Agent in Charge, Homeland Security Investigations, and
Vernon Foret, Director of Field Operations, Miami Field Office, Customs
and Border Protection.
U.S. District Judge Joan A. Lenard
accepted the plea of guilty and scheduled sentencing for February 25,
2013 at 2:00 pm. At sentencing, Diaz Gonzalez faces a possible maximum
sentence of up to 20 years in prison, to be followed by up to 3 years of
supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000.
Under federal law, all wildlife, including birds, being imported into
the United States must, before being released for lawful entry, first be
made available for inspection and properly declared to the United
States Fish and Wildlife Service and the United States Customs and
Border Protection, pursuant to Title 50, Code of Federal Regulations,
Sections 14.52 and 14.61. Some wildlife is also subject to quarantine
before they can be released into the country. The purpose of the
quarantine regulations are, in part, to protect both commercial and wild
species of avians in the United States from possible exposure to
diseases such as Newcastle’s and other maladies against which they would
have no natural immunity. According to the U.S. Department of
Agriculture, Cuba is considered a high-risk source country for high
pathogenic avian influenza and exotic Newcastle’s disease.
Full article: http://www.laht.com/article.asp?ArticleId=654482&CategoryId=14510