- Texan couple arrested for selling endangered animals.
- Illegal sale of jaguar and margay.
- Face federal prison and fines.
Rafael Gutierrez-Galvan, 29, and Deyanira Garza, 28, may face up to five years in federal prison and a possible $20,000 fine if convicted of attempting to sell the endangered jaguar and margay.
Texas couple has been arrested for allegedly trying to sell an endangered jaguar and a margay.
Rafael Gutierrez-Galvan, 29, and his wife Deyanira Garza, 28, both residents of Alamo, Texas, appeared in federal court in McAllen for the first time on Wednesday, a day after the alleged attempted sale of the jaguar.
Gutierrez-Galvan sold a baby margay to the same person in a sports shop parking lot for $7,500 (£6,150) last month.
Neither of them possesses a permit to purchase, sell, trade, or transport exotic animals.
The buyer purportedly instructed his wife to transport a briefcase full of cash from their home to the parking lot, but law enforcement halted her vehicle before she reached her destination and discovered the money.
World Animal Protection classifies the Central and South American margay as “near threatened”.
Jaguars are classified as threatened or endangered species.
Authorities found both animals.
December 2022’s Big Cat Public Safety Act restricted big cat ownership as pets and prohibited exhibitors from allowing public engagement with big cats and their offspring.
The 2020 documentary “Tiger King” shed light on the exploitation of big cats in captivity in the United States and the use of their offspring for lucrative family entertainment.
Joe Exotic is currently serving a 21-year prison sentence for a murder-for-hire conviction against animal welfare activist Carole Baskin, who also appeared in the documentary.
If found guilty, Gutierrez-Galvan and Garza could face up to five years in federal prison and a fine of up to $20,000 (£16,400).