June 18, 2024 The Best Source of News, Culture, Lifestyle for Culver City, Mar Vista, Del Rey, Palms and West Los Angeles

Man Attemping to Smuggle Asian Songbirds Through LAX Faces Sentencing Today

A Garden Grove man who attempted to smuggle over two- dozen Asian songbirds into the United States hidden in a suitcase at Los Angeles International Airport faces sentencing today.

Can Thanh Nguyen, 63, was found guilty in March of importing and bringing protected Asian songbirds into the United States in violation of federal law.

Nguyen, who had a long history of international travel, landed at LAX on April 20, 2015, stating to authorities that he was not carrying any animals or wildlife products.

However, he was subsequently referred by a customs officer to a secondary agricultural inspection point. During that examination, officers discovered 27 Asian songbirds that had been carefully concealed in his suitcase.

The birds — which sell for up to $400 each at Chinese markets in Southern California — were hidden in cages wrapped in foil or newspaper underneath a layer of foil and clothing to avoid detection. Two were already dead, and several others died shortly after.

Eleven of the Asian songbirds birds found in Nguyen’s suitcase were identified as Chinese Hwamei, Garrulax canorus, a type of Asian songbird which is protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna — CITES.

The case “should serve as a warning for individuals who are cashing in by trafficking and selling exotic wildlife that they will be held accountable for their crimes,” said Joseph Macias, special agent in charge for Homeland Security Investigations in Los Angeles.

“Their greed and reckless disregard causes incalculable harm to our environment,” he said.

Nguyen faces up to 20 years in federal prison when he is sentenced by U.S. District Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald.

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