Parrot Smuggler Gets Away Without Jail Time After Pleading Guilty

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Autumn Klein Contributor
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Jafet Rodriguez, 40, has been let off without jail time after pleading guilty to smuggling parrots over the U.S.-Canadian border Tuesday, according to a Department of Justice (DOJ) press release.

Rodriguez pleaded guilty to “unlawfully smuggling six tropical birds into Vermont from Canada, in violation of the Endangered Species Act and the federal anti-smuggling statute,” according to the press release.

Court documents assert that Rodriguez crossed the Canadian border by foot December 2019, walking from Derby Line, Vermont to a parked car in Stanstead, Quebec, according to the press release. After receiving a duffle bag containing the birds, Rodriguez walked back into the United States, per the press release. 

Rodriguez was stopped by United States Border Patrol Agents after entering a vehicle with Pennsylvania license plates in Vermont, according to the press release. (RELATED: ‘F**k Off’: 5 Parrots Removed From British Wildlife Park For Cursing)

After agents discovered the birds, Rodriguez claimed they were intended to be Christmas gifts for family, per the press release. Rodriguez has a history of “profit motivated crimes involving theft, fraud, and drug dealing,” leading agents to question his story, according to the press release.

The parrots were handed to the U.S. Department of Agriculture before being sent to quarantine at the New York Animal Import Center, per the press release. The birds are residing in a North Carolina zoo, according to the press release. 

Rodriguez has been sentenced to two years of federally supervised release and charged a $1,905 fine to pay for the quarantining of the birds, according to the press release.