A 38-year-old Las Vegas man was sentenced Thursday to two years in federal prison after admitting that he tried to smuggle 159 pounds of iguana meat from Mexico into the U.S.
The Los Angeles Times reports Eliodoro Soria Fonseca admitted in San Diego federal court that he intentionally concealed the iguana meat inside several coolers because he lacked the necessary import permits from the U.S. or Mexican governments. The meat was to be sold for human consumption, prosecutors said.
Iguana meat often carries salmonella, officials said. Fonseca was arrested attempting to cross the border at Otay Mesa on June 10, 2011.
The iguanas had been beheaded, skinned and deboned and hidden under several pounds of fish, according to court documents.
Importation of iguana meat is permitted but only under restrictions meant to keep from depleting certain populations of the lizard. The iguana is listed as imperiled but not yet endangered, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.