A New York City man faces up to 20 years in prison for allegedly attempting to smuggle three large snakes across the US-Canada border – in his pants.
Queens resident Calvin Bautista, 36, is accused of hiding three Burmese pythons while on a bus crossing into the US at the Champlain port of entry in New York state on 15 July 2018, the Associated Press reported.
Bautista was arraigned this week in court in Albany, the New York state capital.
He faces federal smuggling charges, as importing Burmese pythons is regulated by an international treaty and federal law.
Bringing the pythons into the US from another country requires permits under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, which Bautista did not have, the Fort-Worth Star Telegram reported.
Bautista was released in the lead-up to his trial, the Department of Justice said.
If convicted, he faces a maximum of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release.
The case is being investigated by the US Fish and Wildlife Service and US Customs and Border Protection.
Burmese pythons are one of the largest species of snakes, growing up to 16ft. While the pythons are not considered at risk of extinction, they are considered a vulnerable species in Asia and an invasive species in Florida.