Smuggler hid 13 songbirds in his pants, surprisingly got caught
A man tried to smuggle 13 songbirds from Vietnam into the United States by hiding them in a custom-made pair of leggings, and thinking no one would notice.
Sony Dong was arrested when he touched down in Los Angeles after he was spotted with bird feathers and droppings on his socks and tail feathers peaking out.
"He had fashioned these special cloth devices to hold the birds," said U.S. attorney spokesman Thom Mrozek. "They were secured by cloth wrappings and attached to his calves with buttons."
Sony Dong's operation was found to be linked to Duc Le, who was arrested for dealing in smuggled birds after an aviary was found at his home in Orange County; both men have been charged with conspiracy in "an eight-count federal indictment".
The birds, which cost about $10 to $30 in Vietnam can be sold in the U.S for about $400.
"They're rare and there are collectors who are willing to pay top dollar for these things,"
Last December, Dong had abandoned a suitcase with 18 birds in it at LAX, five of which had died. He then returned to Vitenam in February and returned with the exotic songbirds. The birds are in quarantine now and may be donated to a zoo if they are found to be healthy.
There is the possibility that birds coming from Southeast Asia are infected with Avian Flu, so authorities have to check for that before they can be released.
The two men are out on bail tonight.