3:00 PM, July 7, 2008
A confessed parrot-smuggler from Los Angeles was sentenced Monday to 10 months in prison and two years supervised probation for his guilty plea to attempting to smuggle 44 birds into the U.S. from Mexico.
Candido Palacios, his wife Aracelia Urias-Palacios and one of their children were enterring the U.S. at the Otay Mesa checkpoint when inspectors heard birds screeching. A search of the vehicle uncovered 40 Conure parrots and 4 yellow-headed Amazon parrots - with a wholesale value of $7,200, according to court records.
Palacios was charged with violating federal laws regulating the importation of wildlife. His wife admitted guilt to a misdemeanor and was given probation.
Bird smugglers like Palacios are attempting to avoid putting the birds in quarantine, which is time-consuming and expensive. But Asst. U.S. Atty. Anne Perry said the quarantine process is needed to protect the country from bird diseases that could devastate the poultry industry, like Newcastle Disease.
"It would only take one bird to take down Zacky Farms," Perry said.
Tony Perry, in San Diego