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Debra Wong Yang
United States Attorney
Central District of California


United States Courthouse
312 North Spring Street
Los Angeles, California 90012
Release No. 06-042

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PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 10, 2006
For Information, Contact Public Affairs
Thom Mrozek (213) 894-6947

MAN ARRAIGNED ON FEDERAL CHARGES OF SMUGGLING ENDANGERED 'LUCKY' FISH


Los Angeles, CA - A Rosemead, California man was arraigned this morning on three federal violations for smuggling an endangered species of fish into the United States through Los Angeles International Airport.

Bao Huynh, 26, pleaded not guilty to the three felony charges, and his trial date was scheduled for May 16.

The endangered fish that Huynh allegedly attempted to smuggle into the United States are Asian Arowana, which are commonly called "Lucky" fish. Arowana are indigenous to Southeast Asia and can live for many years in an aquarium. Arowana grow to an adult length of two to three feet, and they can sell for as much as $5,000 each in the United States.

According to the indictment, on January 19, 2006, Huynh attempted to bring a shipment of tropical fish into the United States from Vietnam. During an inspection of that shipment by an inspector with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, five Arowanas were found hidden in unmarked bags among other tropical fish. The smuggled fish were not listed on the customs declaration or other attached invoices and shipping papers.

Under the Endangered Species Act and international treaties, permits are required to export endangered species from their country of origin, as well as import them into the United States. The permitting system is designed to protect species by preventing the creation of black markets for them in the United States and elsewhere.

The maximum sentence for each violation is five years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.

A federal grand jury indicted Huynh on March 29. He was arrested by federal agents on April 3, and later that day was released on a $10,000 bond.

An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

This case was investigated by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.

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Release No. 06-042

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