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Man who smuggled live birds strapped to legs faces 20 years in prison

April 26, 2010 |  7:42 am

Bird smugglers - birds on legs

A man who fastened live song birds to pieces of cloth around his calves during a plane trip from Vietnam to Los Angeles is scheduled to be sentenced Monday.

Song Dong, 46, faces up to 20 years in federal prison.

He and another man were indicted by a federal grand jury in Los Angeles last year.

Duc Le, 34, and Dong were 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 after investigators determined that Dong had 14 birds fastened to pieces of cloth around his calves. A subsequent search revealed dozens more of the illicit birds, officials said. 

Some were found at a Garden Grove home.

Dong pleaded guilty last month.

-- Shelby Grad and Scott Glover

Photo: Officials search the legs of a suspect in the bird-smuggling case. Credit: U.S. attorney's office