SAN DIEGO – A man who smuggled a Bengal tiger cub into California from Mexico has pleaded guilty to federal charges.
Eighteen-year-old Luis Valencia of Perris entered the plea on Tuesday in San Diego.
The 6-week-old cub was found on the passenger-side floor in Valencia’s car in August at a San Diego border checkpoint.
Tigers are endangered and it’s illegal to import them without a permit.
Valencia told authorities he obtained the animal as a pet but later acknowledged he was bringing it into the U.S. for commercial purposes.
He now faces up to five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.
Another defendant is awaiting trial.
The tiger cub was named Moka and now lives at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.