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Two Orange County men indicted in songbird-smuggling case

May 5, 2009 |  6:48 pm

Sony Dong was caught with 14 birds in his pants One might say the two Orange County men indicted today on bird-smuggling charges were caught with their pants down.  

When one of them was apprehended at LAX after arriving on a flight from Hanoi, authorities found -- get this -- fourteen birds hidden in his pants.  (It must have been hard to explain away the feathers and bird droppings visible on his socks.)  Our colleague Scott Glover at the L.A. Now blog has the details:

Duc Le, 34, and Sony Dong, 46, are charged in an eight-count indictment with conspiring to smuggle dozens of birds into the United States, including red-whiskered bulbuls, magpie robins and shama thrushes.

Both men were arrested last month after investigators determined that Dong had 14 birds fastened to pieces of cloth around his calves, said Asst. U.S. Atty. Mark Williams. A subsequent search revealed dozens more illicit birds, officials said.

The bird species at the heart of the case against Le and Dong are apparently all Asian songbirds.  Each bird can fetch about $400 in the sordid black-market songbird trade, according to MyFoxLA.  

All of the seized birds are reportedly in quarantine.

--Lindsay Barnett

Photo:  The bird-smuggling suspect's legs. Credit:  U.S. attorney's office.

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