LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A Monterey Park man faces charges Wednesday of smuggling three live king cobras hidden in potato chip canisters into the country from Hong Kong.
Rodrigo Franco, 34, was arrested Tuesday by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He was named in a criminal complaint filed on July 21 on one count of illegally importing merchandise into the United States.
Federal authorities say a package sent from Hong Kong was inspected by the customs and border agents who discovered three two-foot king cobras – a protected and highly venomous reptile. The parcel sent through the postal service also contained three albino Chinese soft-shelled turtles, according to Department of Justice spokesman Thom Mrozek. The dangerous snakes were seized by federal officials.