Iguanas Smuggled in Fake Leg

Lizards fetch thousands on black market
By Asta Hostetter,  Newser User
Posted Sep 23, 2007 1:44 PM CDT
Iguanas Smuggled in Fake Leg
In this photo released by the U.S. Attorneys Office, a recovered Fiji Island banded iguana that was seized from a suspect's Long Beach, Calif., home by officials from the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service is shown Friday Sept. 21, 2007. Prosecutors allege the suspect, Jereme James, stole three hatchling...   (Associated Press)

Three endangered iguanas were brought into the US illegally in a special compartment inside a man's removable prosthetic leg. The Fiji Island Banded Iguana  were stolen by Californian Jereme James from a nature preserve in Fiji in 2002. US Fish and Wildlife service began an investigation after a tip-off that he kept the exotic creatures in his home, the BBC reports.

The Banded Iguana, prized for its brilliant green skin, is protected by international treaty. James told an undercover agent that he sold three lizards for $32,000 4 years ago. When officials searched his home in July, they found four more of the prized iguanas, suggesting that James was breeding them. If convicted, he could serve up to five years in prison. (More iguana stories.)

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