A Richmond Hill man was busted near the Canadian border in upstate New York and charged with smuggling snakes. Calvin Bautista, 36, was arraigned Tuesday in Albany federal court on an indictment charging him with smuggling three Burmese pythons into the United States at the Champlain Port of Entry, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York.
The case is being investigated by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Bautista smuggled the snakes in his pants as he rode on a bus that crossed the U.S.-Canadian border, according to federal prosecutors.
Pythons are nonvenomous snakes found in Asia, Africa and Australia, and they grab onto their prey with long teeth and kill by constriction, overwhelming the circulatory system and cutting off the flow of blood to the brain, causing death. Some species grow to more than 30 feet in length.
The charge filed against Bautista carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000 and a term of supervised release of up to three years. Following his arraignment, Bautista was released pending trial at a future date.