USFWS prosecutes Florida man for smuggling monitor lizards

Smugglers taped the legs of monitor lizards to their bodies before stuffing them in socks inside stereo equipment and shipping them from the Philippines to the U.S. Credit: USFWS

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has charged a sixth man involved in the international smuggling of reptiles from the Philippines as part of an investigation by the agency’s law enforcement arm. On Sept. 11, the agency, working with the National Bureau of Investigations in the Philippines, prosecuted a man for allegedly smuggling juvenile yellow-headed monitor (Varanus cumingi) lizards and other monitors in colorful socks inside speakers and subwoofers shipped in packages from the Philippines to different U.S. destinations in 2016. The prosecution was part of a larger sting called Operation Sound of Silence, involving the U.S. and Philippine agencies as well as agents in Thailand that identified three suppliers in the Philippines, 10 customers and more than 30 shipments involving almost 100 monitors. The lizards will be sent to zoos and aquariums due to the disease risks of sending them back to their home in Philippines.

Read more at Medium.