Clarion angelfish smuggler caught


An American man has been charged with attempting to illegally import a rare species of tropical marine fish into the USA.

According to Associated Press, Craig Lightner from San Pedro attempted to import a shipment of 160 rare Clarion angels, Holocanthus clarionensis, from Mexico to the USA.

The fish, which is one of the rarest angels in the marine hobby, is a protected species in Mexico and exports are illegal.

The report claims that 28 Clarion angels were illegally exported by Lightner to Hong Kong, with another 50 going to Japan.

Associated Press says that Lightner was charged with two counts of smuggling, four counts of making false statements to the authorities and a single count of obstruction of justice after he asked a customer to hide the fish from federal agents.

The alledged smuggler could face 35 years behind bars if convicted.

Exports of the species from Mexican waters have been banned since the 1980s, but fish from other areas do sometimes make it into the trade, always at very high prices often at prices in excess of 1000 each.