US man arrested for smuggling protected birds from Vietnam

By AFP   May 3, 2017 | 09:29 am GMT+7

Most of the 93 Asian songbirds have died in transit or soon after being discovered at Los Angeles airport.

A 49-year-old man was arrested in California on Tuesday for trying to smuggle into the United states 93 Asian songbirds -- most of which died -- on a flight from Vietnam.

Kurtis Law, who also has a home in Vietnam, allegedly tried to bring in the tiny birds on March 24 by hiding them in his luggage.

All but eight of the birds, which were placed in suitcases in a way "that allowed each bird little or no movement" died in transit or soon after being discovered at Los Angeles airport, federal officials said.

The complaint alleges that several of the birds were protected species and included Bali Myna birds, Chinese Hwamei birds, Silver-eared Mesia birds and Red-billed Leiothrix birds.

Law faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted on a felony charge of animal smuggling.