Jose Manuel Perez was indicted on Thursday, March 24th, 2022. The feds charged and accused him of smuggling reptiles across the U.S.-Mexico border.
On February 25th, 2022, Perez was arrested at the San Ysidro Port of Entry. The 60 reptiles, including dozens of lizards and four snakes, were hidden in his jacket, pants pockets, groin area, and pants legs. The reptiles were kept in cloth sacks tied off at the end. One can only imagine the discomfort for Mr. Perez if a lizard in his pants got hungry.
From turtles, crocodiles, Mexican beaded lizards, and snakes, Perez had quite the business based out of Missouri.
REPTILE SMUGGLER: A man who tried to slither past U.S. border agents in California had 52 lizards and snakes hidden "in his jacket, pants pockets, and groin area," officials say. https://t.co/Y5tHPREHFJ pic.twitter.com/L6MEneb32f
— 48 Hours (@48hours) March 24, 2022
Sometimes Mr. Perez hired people to carry the animals across the border in a car. Other times he would go to Mexico and pick them up himself. Sometimes Jose posted photos and videos showing the reptiles being caught in the wild. After transporting the reptiles into the states, he used social media to advertise his ill-gotten booty.
Federal prosecutors allege that Perez brought in close to 1,700 reptiles. Perez told the customs officials that the animals were his pets when he was caught.
The LA Times reported:
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“The defendants allegedly advertised for sale on social media the animals smuggled from Mexico into the United States, posting photos and video that depicted the animals being collected from the wild,” the U.S. attorney’s office for the Central District of California said in a news release.
Jose Manuel Perez was charged with two counts of wildlife trafficking, nine counts of smuggling goods into the U.S. and one count of conspiracy after allegedly transporting the animals for a black-market business.
If convicted, Perez could face up to 10 years for the wildlife trafficking and another 180 years for the smuggling charges if they were to run consecutively.
His sister Stephany Perez, was charged with conspiracy. Because she was connected to the business, she faces a maximum prison sentence of 5 years.
On the flip side, in November 2021, 1.7 illegal immigrant crossings were recorded in the past year. Instead of clamoring for the traffickers to receive charges similar to Mr. Perez, the Democrats continue to encourage illegal immigration.
Can you imagine if Democrat leaders, who support illegal immigration, would have to go to jail for conspiracy? They essentially make it easy for illegal immigrants to pour through the southern border. I have a problem seeing a difference between Mr. Perez’s sister and the Democrats who fight for children to be allowed to be smuggled across Southern, Central, and North America.
Maybe Mr. Perez would be safe with his reptiles if he would call his pants, “sanctuary pants.” That is what many cities have effectively done. According to one site, more than 200 cities in the U.S. ignore federal law that gives the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to deport illegal immigrants without acquiring warrants.
Mr. Perez should try to show that he was bringing the reptiles to the states because they needed a better life. It probably wouldn’t work, though because the reptiles could never vote, unlike the illegal immigrants.