Stella Dimoko Man Busted For Smuggling Cobras In Potato Chip Cans


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Friday, July 28, 2017

Man Busted For Smuggling Cobras In Potato Chip Cans

A California man tried to smuggle three venomous king cobra snakes — each about two feet long — into the United States from Hong Kong in potato chip cans, U.S. prosecutors said.

Rodrigo Franco, 34, was arrested and charged Tuesday with a single smuggling count for bringing the snakes stateside — along with a baby crocodile and nearly a dozen types of turtles, officials said.

All of the animals are protected species.

The investigation began in early March, when Customs and Border Protection agents opened the cans, which had been shipped to Franco’s address from Hong Kong.

Investigators found the slithering surprises within the purple and red potato chip cylinders.

They also found a trio of albino Chinese soft-shell turtles, which they returned to their container, according to a complaint filed last week and released Tuesday.

The snakes were too deadly to return to the chip cans.

A postal worker then delivered the turtle package to Franco’s Monterey Park home.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents then raided Franco’s home.

Inside what appeared to be a child’s bedroom, agents found a tank containing a baby Morelet’s crocodile, three alligator snapping turtles and five diamondback terrapin turtles, court documents claim.

Investigators took Franco’s phone and found he was using Whatsapp, a free instant-messaging service, to speak with a Chinese supplier identified as Ji Anji, according to court documents.

They’d arranged for Franco to buy reptiles in the U.S. and ship them to Anji, who’d respond with money and rare Far East reptiles, prosecutors said.

He instructed Anji on how to store the soft-shell turtles in socks, and asked they be shipped at the same time as the king cobras.

Franco initially told investigators he’d received 20 king cobras over two shipments, but all had arrived dead.

Officials later discovered that five of them might’ve been alive and brought to a relative in Virginia.

Fish and Wildlife Service agents arrested him at his home Tuesday

Franco faces a maximum of 20 years if he’s convicted of illegally importing merchandise into the United States.

Stephen Demik, his attorney, didn’t immediately return a call for comment. Franco is due back in court in August, according to the Los Angeles Times.

from new york daily times


  1. I heard it in news yesterday and I don't want to see the pictures, I don't think there is anything I fear pass snake

    *Larry was here*

    1. WTF!

      Your comment will be visible after approval

  2. I didn't bother looking at the pictures so I won't have night mare for one week.

    I just scrolled down. The things they import into this our country at times na wa o.

    Let me keep shut sha.

    Can someone summarize the story under my comment? I can't 'by mistake' see the picture o.

  3. Hmmm. What is he doing with the reptiles?

  4. Abeg is that turtle doing Yoga?

    1. Lol..... No, the turtle is practicing kung fu!!

  5. I trust the US to deal with him.....


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