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Press Release

Albuquerque Man Charged with Conspiracy Related to Recovery of Tiger Cub in Albuquerque

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE – Alexander M.M. Uballez, United States Attorney for the District of New Mexico, and Amy Lueders, Acting Deputy Director of Operations for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, announced today that a federal grand jury returned an indictment charging David Mendoza-Enriquez with conspiracy to violate the Lacey Act, which prohibits the transport and sale of certain wildlife, in connection with the tiger cub seized in Albuquerque early last year. Mendoza-Enriquez, aka “Cholo,” 40, of Albuquerque, was also one of 15 defendants charged with drug trafficking in a separate superseding indictment.

According to the indictment, between Nov. 20, 2022, and Jan. 10, 2023, Mendoza-Enriquez conspired with others to import the tiger cub from Mexico into New Mexico and sell it for thousands of dollars. 

On January 10, 2023, the Albuquerque Police Department, with the assistance of the Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,  located and seized the tiger cub in Albuquerque after responding to an unrelated call. The tiger cub, now named “Duke,” was transferred to the ABQ BioPark, and later to the Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg, Colorado.

The following photographs appeared in the indictment to illustrate Mendoza-Enriquez’s possession of Duke.  They include a distinctive tattoo on Mendoza-Enriquez’s right hand.