Federal agents Tuesday arrested a Fountain Valley man smuggling charges that allege he illegally brought 93 Asian songbirds to the U.S. on a flight from Vietnam.
Most of the birds died in transit or soon after arriving at Los Angeles International Airport, according to officials
Kurtis Law, 49, who also maintains a residence in Vietnam, was arrested pursuant to a federal criminal complaint filed yesterday afternoon.
Law is charged with smuggling goods into the U.S., a felony offense that carries a sentence of up to 20 years behind bars.that carries a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison.
The complaint alleges that Law attempted to smuggle 93 Asian songbirds into the U.S.on March 24.
According to court papers, investigators found several species of protected songbirds in Law’s luggage, including Bali Mynas birds (Leucopsar Rothschildi), Chinese Hwamei birds (Garrulax canorus), Silver-eared Mesia birds (Leiothrix argentauris), and Red-billed Leiothrix birds (Leiothrix lutea).
These species are protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
The complaint alleges that the birds were placed in Law’s suitcases in a way “that allowed each bird little or no movement,” and all but eight of the 93 birds ultimately died as a result of the smuggling.
Law is expected to make his initial appearance this afternoon in federal court in downtown Los Angeles.
Law is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.
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