A man was charged with stealing three endangered iguanas from Fiji and smuggling them into United States in his prosthetic leg. He said he has smuggled them in the past and put them in a special compartment in his prosthetic leg.
Jeremy James, 33, has been smuggling iguanas for a number of years, would have got away with it for even a longer time until someone notified the authorities about seeing the neon green iguanas in his homes. The neon green iguanas are protected under an international treaty regulating trading endangered species.
James faces a single count of smuggling charges and if convicted will carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison.
Prosecutors said he stole the iguanas from Fiji Island in September 2002; he then bought the reptiles into the US by hiding them in a special compartment he built in his prosthetic leg.
While investigating him, the detectives found James may have sold three of the iguanas for $32,000. After a search warrant was issued, they found four iguanas at his place. He may also have been involved in an iguanas breeding program.
The Fish and Wildlife agents are keeping the iguanas in a shelter and breeding program. For now they will remain in the US.
It must have been a horrific trip for the iguanas from Fiji in a cramped environment, hope they find a better place for them now. I hope the new modern scanners installed will be able to check for such illegal smuggling of animals.
The iguanas look like a great pet in the beginning but can be quite aggressive when they grow and have a 3 foot tail. Some of the domestic iguanas carry salmonella compared to the wild iguanas, so one must be careful in touching them.