Merchant from New York City admits to smuggling nearly 40,000 piranhas into the U.S. for sale. Joel Rakower admitted to a federal court in Brooklyn that he had bit off more than he could chew by smuggling the deadly piranhas into the country. Rakower pleaded guilty to smuggling the piranhas, from 2011 to 2012 and being in violation of the Federal Lacey Act, which prohibits trafficking illegal wildlife, fish, and plants.
Between 2011 and 2012 Rakower 39,548 piranhas into the United States from Hong Kong. In his plea agreement statement, Rakower said, that he instructed the tropical fish supplier in Hong Kong to label the fish as silver tetras, a common aquarium fish that is unaggressive. Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said, ” Rakower was driven by greed and without regard for the health and safety of people or the environment.”
Piranhas are a freshwater fish that comes from the rivers of South America and are known for their extremely sharp teeth and insatiable hunger for meat. They are members of the Characidae family and in Venezuela, piranhas are called caribes. Piranhas will attack swimmers or any beast that enters the waters they inhabit, especially if they smell blood. The fish is very aggressive and is illegal to buy, sell, or own them in 25 states.
“Merchant Admits To Smuggling Nearly 40,000 Piranhas Into the U.S.”