In addition to trying to stop the flow of illegal aliens entering the country, the function of the US Border Patrol and Customs is to check just about everything that comes into the country, as closely as possible.

The local office in Lake Charles was first established in 1927 and no doubt in those days spent a fair amount of time chasing bootleggers floating Canadian whiskey and more up the rivers and bayous and across the swamps and back alleys of Lake Charles, DeRidder, Jennings and so on.

The mission evolved through World War II and as you can imagine today's Customs and Border Patrol are a highly resourced well-supplied 21st century protection machine guarding us every day from everything from bad fruit to unlicensed software and electronics.

Even still, the remarkable discovery of three highly venomous king cobra snakes stashed in potato chip cans in March caught even veteran officers at the Port of Los Angeles unawares.

Praveen Bajpai

The agents started checking-up on the intended recipient, a 34 year-old Rodrigo Franco of Monterrey, Ca., and found that for months he'd used a smart-phone application to buy and sell snakes and other reptiles to and from Hong Kong.

When some turtles arrived the other day the agents piled up their considerable evidence and had the post office deliver them to Mr. Ramos while they lurked nearby. When the package was accepted the agents swarmed in and made the arrest.

Franco was charged with illegally importing merchandise into the United States which comes with a maxed sentence of twenty years.  No mention is made of what the purpose of the exotic animals in the home was or why they were being imported.

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Can you imagine a terrorist setting a cobra loose in a school, mall or movie theater? In addition to anti-smuggling, the local office also covers incoming freight, intelligence, and criminal aliens around-the-clock seven days a week..


The roster of reptiles contained in various aquariums in the home included the three deadly cobras, and endangered species listers: a baby crocodile, three alligator snapping turtles and five diamond black terrapins as can be seen here.