New York man who smuggled pythons into the US by hiding them in his pants sentenced to probation, fined $5k

 A New York City man was sentenced to a year of probation and fined $5,000 on Wednesday for smuggling Burmese pythons from Canada to the United States in 2018.

Kelvin Bautista, 38, of Richmond Hill, New York, was sentenced in the Northern District of New York on July 15, 2018, after admitting to smuggling three Burmese pythons into the US during a bus trip from Montreal to the Big Apple. US Attorney Carla B. A news release from Friedman.

The bus he was traveling in passed through the Champlain Port of Entry in Clinton County, New York.

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According to Friedman, the pythons were discovered when Customs and Border Protection officers were reviewing Bautista's passport and conducting a search at the border. The young adult snakes were inside snake sacs attached to his pants near the inner side of his thigh.

Burmese pythons are not native to North America and are considered an invasive species, and Bautista did not have the necessary permits and documentation to bring them into the country.

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According to court documents obtained by The Associated Press, Bautista purchased the snakes from a reptile store in Canada. They cost over $2,500.

The Burmese python is one of the largest snakes in the world and is considered a vulnerable species in Asia – its native continent.

The case was investigated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and CBP and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexander P. Wentworth-Ping.

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