Monday, April 15, 2024

Caught at border with pythons in pants, New York City man fined and sentenced to probation

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A New York City man who admitted to smuggling three Burmese pythons in his pants through a U.S.-Canadian border crossing was sentenced Wednesday to a year of probation and fined $5,000, federal prosecutors said.

Calvin Bautista, 38, crossed into northern New York with the hidden snakes on a bus from Montreal to New York City on July 15, 2018. The young adult snakes were hidden in the inner thigh of his pants in snake bags tied to the pants’ drawstring.

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They were discovered by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers, according to court documents and a release from the office of U.S. Attorney Carla B. Freedman.

The Queens resident purchased the snakes, which were worth more than $2,500, at a reptile store in Canada, according to court documents.

Importation of Burmese pythons is regulated by an international treaty and by U.S. federal regulations listing them as “injurious to human beings.”

The Burmese python, one of the world’s largest snakes, is considered a vulnerable species in its native Asia and is invasive in Florida, where it threatens native animals.

Bautista’s attorney had no comment.

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