Man ‘smuggled venomous snakes in crisp container’

Man ‘smuggled venomous snakes in crisp container’
By Chris Harris with REUTERS
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A man tried to smuggle highly-venomous snakes into the United States inside a crisp container, prosecutors claim.

Rodrigo Franco, 34, has been charged with attempting to illegally import three king cobras from Hong Kong.

The cobras, the longest venomous snakes in the world, were intercepted by U.S. Customs on March 2.

Franco, alleged prosecutors, tried to smuggle the 2-foot (0.61-metre) snakes concealed inside potato chip canisters.

According to a criminal complaint filed in the case, Franco admitted during an interview with authorities that he had previously received a total of 20 king cobras in two prior shipments but that all of those snakes had died in transit.

He faces a maximum of 20 years in prison if convicted, although federal sentencing guidelines typically call for less time behind bars.

According to the National Geographic website, the king cobra can reach up to 18 feet (5.5 metres) in length. When confronted they can raise up to one-third of their bodies off the ground, flare out their hoods and emit a “bone-chilling” hiss before attacking.

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