Southern California lizard smuggler gets 15 months

AP News
Posted: Jul 06, 2011 6:54 PM
Southern California lizard smuggler gets 15 months

A California man who strapped 15 live lizards to his chest and tried to walk through customs at Los Angeles International Airport has been sentenced to 15 months in prison.

Michael Plank of Lomita was also fined $2,000 and will be on supervised release for three years after completing his sentence.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says Plank was returning from Australia in 2009 when customs agents found two geckos, two monitor lizards and 11 smaller lizards fastened to his body.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Dennis Mitchell says the animals are at the San Diego Zoo but he wouldn't comment on what would happen to them.

Plank pleaded guilty last year to smuggling wildlife into the U.S. He was represented by attorney Larry Bakman, who asked for a lighter sentence.