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Teen handed six months in prison for smuggling Bengal tiger cub into US

The cub was found in the 18-year-old’s car.

A teenager from California has been sentenced to six months in prison for smuggling in a Bengal tiger cub from Mexico.

Ahead of the sentencing on Tuesday, the defence barrister for 18-year-old Luis Valencia told a court in San Diego that his client had had a lapse in judgement and wanted the endangered tiger as a pet.

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

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Smuggled Tiger Cub

The six-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 is 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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