Ever wonder how non-native species make it to the U.S.? It’s guys like this who disregard ecology and public health and try and get away with it.
New York City resident Joel Rakower bit off more than he could chew when he smuggled nearly 40,000 piranhas into the United States.
In a plea agreement, Rakower admitted that his company purchased piranhas from a Hong Kong tropical fish supplier and imported them to the city, according to the statement.
Rakower instructed the foreign supplier to falsely label the exotic fish on packing lists as silver tetras, a common and unaggressive aquarium fish, because New York City prohibited the possession of piranhas, the statement said.
Piranhas are a very aggressive species of fish and very territorial. Thus they are illegal to own and/or sell in 25 states. Rakower has to pay over $70,000 in fines. It’s unclear what he intended to do with the fish, presumably sell them to clients who wanted the exotic, illegal fish. Piranhas have been found in non-native waters resulting from people who released them. However, they can not survive in cold waters of northern U.S. They are a popular edible fish but they can be potentially dangerous.