(CN) – An Orange County, Calif., man who smuggled six endangered dragon fish in his luggage aboard a commercial flight was sentenced to six months of home detention and two years probation. Ricky Vu, 35, of Garden Grove, also was ordered to perform 200 hours of community service and pay a $7,500 fine.
Vu pleaded guilty in October to a misdemeanor charge of illegally importing an endangered species. Authorities say he admitted to hiding the Asian Arowana – commonly known as the “dragon fish” or “lucky fish” – in his suitcase during a September flight from Indonesia to Los Angeles.
Authorities say he kept the fish in plastic bags will with water. Federal customs agents discovered the fish alive when they searched Vu’s bag after he landed at LAX.
Dragon fish, natives of Southeast Asia, are on the Endangered Species list, and permits are required to import them into the United States.
Officials say the fish can sell on the black market for thousands of dollars.