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

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.

File image of Bengal tiger.

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.

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.

- PA

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