The herptile blog.

All about the herpetological world.

Man arrested at LAX with 15 lizards strapped to his chest.

Posted by Miqe on November 23, 2009

Sometimes you just have to wonder what people are thinking…

Forty-year old Michael Plank of Lomita, California was arrested last week while attempting to pass through U.S. Customs at Los Angeles International Airport with two geckos, two monitor lizards and 11 skinks in a money belt wrapped around his chest.

The lizards, valued at $8,500 and strictly regulated in Australia can cost Plank as much as a $250,000 fine and up to 20 years in prison if convicted. Plank didn’t have the required export permit from Australia and was obviously trying to sneak the lizards into the U.S. without being detected.

Being someone who gets squirmy just thinking about one lizard let alone 15, I can’t imagine taking a flight of 14 hours and 30 minutes with live (or dead) lizards in a money belt under my clothes. Then there was the additional time of getting prepared to take such a flight, the airport check-in, somehow getting through security and then taking the flight itself. Can you even imagine doing all of this and getting caught? I think Mr. Plank has taken stupidity to a new level.

Maybe he was envisioning a re-enactment of the movie “Snakes on a Plane”? Or perhaps Mr. Plank was going to propose a new mascot for Geico Insurance?

Written by: Marc Friedman



I think that the punishment of either $250,000 or 20 years of inprosonment is too low.. People smuggling animals of any kind should have hard punishments, no matter what the species is.



4 Responses to “Man arrested at LAX with 15 lizards strapped to his chest.”

  1. Peps said

    Well…20 years is a long time. I know quite a few people who have been smuggling snakes:-) And none of them deserved such a severe penalty.


  2. […] herpetology/reptile blog: [here] […]

  3. I agree that smuggling is bad, but I think he got about the same kind of punishment as a drug smuggler would have, so that seems pretty fair to me. In fact, I might even make it a smaller fine since most of these lizards seem legal in the US, unlike drugs.

  4. […] crested gecko creature leo […]

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