Texas man was sentenced to prison for trafficking protected species

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — An El Paso man was sentenced to 20 months in prison for trafficking wildlife, including protected species, from Mexico into the United States.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, 62-year-old Alejandro Carrillo was also ordered to pay a $2,000 fine and will be placed on supervised release for a period of two years after completing his prison term.

Carrillo pleaded guilty to animal trafficking in federal court in the Western District of Texas in July 2020. He was charged with one count of conspiracy to traffic wildlife and one count of smuggling.

According to a DOJ news release, Carrillo admitted to conspiring to smuggle wildlife from Mexico into the U.S. via El Paso since April 2015 by acting as a middleman between several Mexico-based suppliers and their U.S. customers. He would pick up the animals — including amphibians, birds and reptiles valued at more than $3.5 million — in Juarez, and smuggle them in his car into El Paso. Because he was a U.S. citizen with a Secure Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection card, it was easier for him to cross over without detection. He would then ship the animals to customers via FedEx or the U.S. Postal Service. The DOJ release said that many animals died during transport.