Leggings covered with live, pooping exotic birds: They're not good fashion sense and, as it turns out, they're not the best way to smuggle rare Vietnamese wildlife into the United States.
According to National Geographic News, 46-year-old Sonny Dong learned this lesson the hard way Wednesday when he was arrested at the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and charged with conspiracy. Dong was flagged for inspection anyway, due to a past bird-smuggling incident, but what really tipped airport security off was the suspicious amount of feathers and bird poo coming out of his pants legs.
Dong was allegedly bringing the dozen or so rare birds into the states to sell them as pets at an estimated price tag of $400 each. While this might seem like a victimless crime to some of you*, this is exactly the sort of thing that can and has wrecked havoc on natural environments. You may call it a harmless pet, but everyone else might wind up knowing it as an invasive species. According to the New Yorker's Burkhard Bilger, Florida is already rife with this sort of thing, due to the historic introduction of various food crops, exotic pets and -- yes -- hurricane-sprung zoo escapees.
In the words of Swamp Thing (the crappy TV version, not the awesome Alan Moore-penned version), "Do not bring your evil here!"
As for the smuggled birds, most are expected to be served up in the LAX food court by the end of the week. Kidding! The AP reports that they'll likely wind up in a zoo.
* And for those people, seriously, the next time you fly, try traveling inside Sonny Dong's pants leg.