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Teen gets 6 months for smuggling Bengal tiger cub into US

February 21, 2018

In this Nov. 28, 2017 photo, a rescued Bengal tiger cub played and explored the enclosure at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. The 6-week-old cub was found on the passenger-side floor in Luis Valencia's car in August at a San Diego border checkpoint. The California teen has been sentenced to six months in prison for smuggling in the Bengal tiger cub from Mexico. (Nelvin C. Cepeda/The San Diego Union-Tribune via AP)

SAN DIEGO (AP) — A California teen has been sentenced to six months in prison for smuggling in a Bengal tiger cub from Mexico.

The defense attorney for 18-year-old Luis Valencia told the court Tuesday in San Diego before his sentencing that his client had had a lapse in judgment and wanted the endangered tiger as a pet.

But prosecutors argued Valencia’s cellphone data showed he was running an animal smuggling business and boasted about getting thousands for monkeys, jaguars and lions.

The 6-week-old cub was found on the passenger-side floor in Valencia’s car in August at a San Diego border checkpoint.

Tigers are endangered and it’s illegal to import them without a permit.

The tiger cub was named Moka and now lives at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

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