A man was arrested in Arizona after trying to sell a tiger cub on a social media site for $20,000.
Carlos Castro Alcaraz, 25, was arrested by undercover Phoenix Police Department officers after he set up a deal to sell the tiger cub to them on social media.
Police were notified of the big cat after another user saw the posting and contacted them.
Albuquerque Police Sgt Brian Bower told reporters they were initially skeptical if the social media post was real or not. So police decided to pose as buyers and see if the seller would respond.
The undercover officers contacted Alcaraz and bartered with him, getting him to knock $5,000 off his original asking price.
After the deal was set, police served a search warrant and found the cub in a dog crate in Alcaraz’s closet.
‘It had a sandal inside their cage – it looked like it was their chew toy,’ Bower said.
Behind the tiger crate, officers also spotted a large aquarium tank full of baby snapping turtles and a single baby alligator. Both species are also illegal to own without a proper license in Arizona.
Alcaraz told police he bought the tiger one week earlier for $8,000 from another Phoenix resident who he claimed wasn’t taking care of it properly.
‘We don’t know if there’s a bigger ring for exotic animals, this is definitely just the tip of the iceberg,’ Bower said. ‘Our detectives will look into it and identify if there is a larger scheme behind this’
Alcaraz was charged with one count of possession of live wildlife and one count of fish and game violation.
Earlier this month, police in the neighboring state of New Mexico also found an illegally-owned tiger cub while investigating reports of a shooting.
The tiny 20-pound cub was being kept in a dog carrier inside a mobile home. It has since found a new home at the Albuquerque Zoo.
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