Orange County man pleads guilty in songbird-smuggling case


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An Orange County man has pleaded guilty to conspiracy for his role in smuggling songbirds into the United States from Vietnam by hiding them in another man’s pants.

Duc Le of Garden Grove entered the plea in federal court in Los Angeles on Monday. The 34-year-old man faces up to five years in prison when he is sentenced in June.


Codefendant Sony Dong pleaded guilty last year to illegally importing wildlife after authorities discovered 14 songbirds strapped to his legs on a flight from Vietnam to Los Angeles.

Authorities say the birds could have been sold for up to $400 each. The birds survived the trip.

Le was arrested after investigators found 51 songbirds at his home.

Dong faces up to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced April 26.

-- Associated Press

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A file photo provided by the Justice Department shows Sony Dong with songbirds strapped to his legs after being detained at Los Angeles International Airport. Credit: Associated Press