LOS ANGELES – A Los Angeles federal jury has convicted a Garden Grove man of smuggling Asian songbirds into the United States concealed in his suitcase at Los Angeles International Airport, according to the Department of Justice.

Can Thanh Nguyen, 63, was found guilty Thursday of importing and bringing Asian songbirds into the United States in violation of federal law. Nguyen, who had a long history of international travel, landed at LAX April 20 of last year. At a U.S. Customs and Border Protection kiosk, Nguyen stated he was not carrying any animals or animal/wildlife products. However, he was subsequently referred by a CBP officer to a secondary agricultural inspection point. 

 While Nguyen was in that inspection area, CBP personnel discovered 27 Asian songbirds that had been carefully concealed in his suitcase. The birds were hidden in cages wrapped in foil or newspaper underneath a layer of foil and clothing to avoid detection. Special agents from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations responded to investigate.

Eleven of the Asian songbirds birds found in Nguyen’s suitcase were identified as Chinese Hwamei, Garrulax canorus, a type of Asian songbird which is protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna. Two of the birds found in the suitcase were already dead, and several others died shortly after.