Snakes in underwear smuggler fined $400

MIAMI Thu Sep 15, 2011 11:54am EDT

Related Topics

MIAMI (Reuters) - A Brazilian man who was caught at Miami airport trying to smuggle seven baby pythons and three baby tortoises concealed in his underwear and pockets was fined $400 by a U.S. judge on Wednesday.

Simon Turola Borges, 30, who had been detained since August 25, pled guilty to smuggling and was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Patricia A. Seitz to time served, two years of supervised release, and a $400 fine. He was ordered to be deported.

Prosecutors said Borges initially denied having anything hidden in his pants when Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at the airport pulled him aside for a further search after he went through a body scanner while preparing to board a flight to Brazil last month.

"Subsequently, he was asked to empty his cargo pants pockets, and he removed two hatchling pythons tightly wrapped in nylon pantyhose," prosecutors said in a statement.

When he was asked to remove any foreign objects from his groin area "Borges pulled his underwear away from his body and removed two nylon pantyhose containing numerous snakes and tortoises," the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida added in the statement.

The seized live animals, all hatchlings just weeks old, consisted of three Ball Pythons, three Carpet Pythons, one Children's Python, one Indian Star Tortoise and two Leopard Tortoises, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said.

All of the creatures are protected under the CITES convention that restricts trade in animal species without special permits.

The judge ordered that the fine should go to the Miami Science Museum to help protect reptile species.

(Reporting by Pascal Fletcher and Tom Brown; Editing by Greg McCune)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see
Comments (2)
oldtimer78 wrote:
But if Mr Borges was about to board a plane to Brazil, he was attempting to smuggle pythons and tortoises OUT of US and INTO the country where they are already readily available— for what purpose? The article should have made it clear what his intentions were. Did nobody ask him why he was carrying these animals? And where he acquired them?

Sep 15, 2011 1:27pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
bwilly321 wrote:
There’s a snake in my boot!!!

Sep 15, 2011 1:31pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.