Riverside County teen accused of trying to smuggle a tiger over the U.S./Mexico border

A Riverside County teenager was arrested early Wednesday morning after police say he tried to snake a Bengal tiger cub into the United States in his Chevy Camaro.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents discovered the adorable cub lying on the floor between a passengers legs at about 1:30 am at the Otay Mesa border crossing. Luis Valencia, 18, of Perris, was driving and was charged Thursday with one count of unlawful importation of wildlife, reports the LA Times.

Valencia told investigators that he bought the cub earlier in the week from a man who was walking a “full-sized tiger on a leash” through the streets of Tijuana and planned to keep it as a pet.

There was no word on if the passenger, a 21-year-old man, was also arrested.

(US Border Patrol)

Valencia faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

The San Diego Union Tribune reports that he cub is being cared for at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.