A Japanese national is facing U.S. federal charges for what prosecutors say was an illegal reptile trafficking operation, shipping abroad hundreds of blood pythons, ball pythons, Mexican burrowing pythons, Australian knob tailed geckos, and other regulated species without proper export permits. According to documents filed Oct. 12 in Miami federal court, Daisuke Miyauchi is charged with two felonies: conspiracy to smuggle wildlife and making false records, each of which carry a maximum prison term of five years.
The investigation into Miyauchi and two unindicted co-conspirators in the U.S. began in June 2020, when an informant told the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service of “a possible large sale of reptiles to a Japanese buyer, who was intending to come to the United States to conduct the transaction.” At one point before a controlled delivery by investigators, a group of reptiles were sprayed with a “forensic coding solution” in order to identify them later, according to a separate filing in the case. Blood pythons “are not considered an endangered or threatened species,” according to Utah’s Hogle Zoo, but “their population is currently being impacted by collection for the international pet trade and for leather products.” Bond was set at $1 million, according to court records. Miyauchi is scheduled to appear before a judge on Friday.