Man Smuggles Nearly 40,000 Piranhas into U.S.

Justice bites

Jan 30, 2014
Outside Magazine

Between 2011 and 2012, New York City resident Joel Rakower smuggled 39,548 piranhas into Brooklyn. On Wednesday, he pleaded guilty in federal court to violating the federal Lacey Act, which combats trafficking "illegal" wildlife, fish, and plants, CNN reports.

Rakower made this happen in three easy steps, according to a U.S. Department of Justice statement:

  1. His company purchased the fish from a Hong Kong–based tropical fish supplier.
  2. Rakower had the supplier falsely label the fish as silver tetras (not piranhas).
  3. He brought them into the city.

Rakower will pay $70,000 in fines and restitution, and his company will serve two years of probation.