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FOCUS: ORANGE COUNTY COMMUNITY NEWS | SADDLEBACK/SOUTH
BEACH: MISSION VIEJO

Man Gets 4 Months' Detention in Lizard Smuggling

October 29, 1998|CHRIS CEBALLOS

A Mission Viejo man has been sentenced to four months of home detention for trying to smuggle 57 New Caledonia geckos into the United States in May, according to federal prosecutors.

A federal judge last week sentenced Adrian Sheldon Cunningham, 43, to three years of probation and 240 hours of community service. The U.S. attorney's office had urged a four-month jail term.

Cunningham, who pleaded guilty to the charges, was arrested by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agents after Los Angeles International Airport customs officials discovered the lizards concealed in his portable kayak.

New Caledonia geckos, the largest known species of gecko, are protected by international law and cannot be exported from New Zealand or imported to the United States without permits.

The geckos, all of which are alive, have been dispersed to various zoos around the country.

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