Drugs, cash, bootleg Beyoncé CDs: mailing these items is somewhat understandable. But why on God's green Earth would anyone ever think it's a good idea -- in 2017 -- to transport three deadly venomous snakes stuffed inside potato chip cans?
California's own Rodrigo Franco, 34, has been arrested for allegedly attempting to do just that, several news outlets have reported. He now faces federal smuggling charges and possibly several years in prison after authorities discovered not just the snakes, but also three albino Chinese soft-shelled turtles in the same package in March. Customs and Border Protections officers inspected the package upon its arrival in the United States, shipped to California from Hong Kong.
The venomous snakes are not-yet-fully-grown king cobras, each one about 2ft long; they can grow to be about 18ft.
The federal agents apparently delivered the turtles to Franco (but kept the snakes on hand), along with a search warrant for his home in Monterrey Park, California. In his home, they also found a baby Morelet's crocodile, alligator snapping turtles, a common snapping turtle, and five diamond back terrapins. All of these are protected species and are illegal to casually keep as pets.
According to court documents, Franco has admitted that, previously, he has also received a total of 20 king cobras in two prior shipments sent to his house that slipped by the authorities. All of the snakes were dead on arrival. The moral of this story is "Please, for the love of Mother Nature, stop mailing venomous snakes."
If convicted, Franco faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and, presumably, the lifelong ire of animal activists everywhere.