A Louisiana pet supplier and his son pleaded guilty Tuesday to charges arising from a scheme to smuggle parrots into the United States from Mexico.
The guilty pleas, entered before U.S. District Judge Judith N. Keep in San Diego, are the latest development in a wide-ranging federal investigation into a bird-smuggling ring that allegedly brought hundreds of parrots into the United States from Mexico during early 1987. The concealed birds were allegedly smuggled into San Diego from Tijuana.
In a related case, U.S. authorities earlier this month arrested a Tijuana businessman and one of his employees, charging them with smuggling more than $250,000 worth of baby parrots into the United States. Also, a pet-store owner in South Carolina was convicted of smuggling and other charges after a trial in U.S. District Court in San Diego.
In the latest case, Gregory B. Jones, 61, who operated a distribution center known as Bird World in Lacombe, La., pleaded guilty Tuesday to two felony counts of receiving protected wildlife and making false statements to a federal officer. Each count carries a maximum jail sentence of five years and fines of $250,000.