Man pleads guilty to smuggling Cuban birds in his pants at Miami airport

Miami HeraldDecember 7, 2012 

When Alberto Diaz Gonzalez returned to Miami from Cuba, the 76-year-old lied to Customs officials - not about his birth place or immigration status.

He lied about birds hidden in his pants.

Now, he faces up to 20 years in prison at his February sentencing in Miami federal court.

On Thursday, Diaz Gonzalez pleaded guilty to smuggling the undeclared Cuban wildlife – Cuban bullfinches, or Negritos de Cuba - at Miami International Airport.

When Diaz Gonzalez returned from Havana on Oct. 20, he declared on paper and verbally that he was not carrying any birds or other wildlife.

But the Customs and Border Protection officer suspected something was up. So, he patted him down.

What did the officer find? Sixteen Cuban bullfinches sewn into the interior of the Miami man’s pants and in a plastic cylinder in a pants pocket.

Diaz Gonzalez was arrested after admitting he bought the birds during his trip to Cuba and planned to sell them in the United States.

Federal law says all wildlife imported into the United States must first be declared and inspected before entering the country.

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