Man Pleads Guilty to Smuggling 40,000 Piranhas into US

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A man in New York City, Joel Rakower has been accused of smuggling just under 40,000 aggressive piranhas into the United States from Hong Kong.

All sorts of things are smuggled across borders daily and some are just bizarre. A man in New York City, Joel Rakower has been accused of smuggling 40,000 aggressive piranhas into the United States from Hong Kong. He got away with it for a decent amount of time too, having smuggled the fish into the country for over a year.

Rakower’s method in getting them past authorities was by having the Hong Kong based supplier label the shipments under a different category of fish. The piranhas were fraudulently tagged as silver tetras, which are a common harmless fish found in many homes.

All the while, Rakower knew New York City has a ban on the possession of piranhas. He carried out the scheme from 2011 through 2012.

The value of the smuggled piranhas was $37,376, however it remains unknown how much cash Rakower took in from selling them to US retailers. Rakower and his company, which specializes in fish distribution, recently pleaded guilty in court to illegally importing the piranhas.

They will now have to pay $70,000 in both restitution and fines.

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