NYC man caught at border with Burmese pythons in his pants is sentenced, fined


19-foot Burmese python caught in Florida

Record-breaking 19-foot-long Burmese python captured in Florida


A New York City man who attempted to smuggle Burmese pythons in his pants has been sentenced for attempting to transport three of the reptiles over the U.S. border. 

Calvin Bautista, 38, has been sentenced to one year of probation and fined $5,000 on a federal smuggling charge. He faced a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and a term of supervised release of up to three years, officials said after he was indicted in 2022. 

Bautista, from Queens, previously admitted to smuggling the snakes in July 2018, as he rode a bus that crossed the U.S.-Canada border at the Champlain port of entry in Clinton County, New York, officials said. Customs and Border Protection Officers found the snakes in a small bag attached to his pants, near his inner thigh, as they reviewed his passport and conducted a search. 

A Burmese python sits in the grass at Everglades Holiday Park in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on April 25, 2019. 

RHONA WISE/AFP via Getty Images

Burmese pythons are among the world’s largest snakes. They are native to Asia, where they are considered a vulnerable species, but a large population of them exist in Florida, where they proliferated after Hurricane Andrew hit the state in 1992. Since then, the pythons have made a home in the Florida Everglades and other areas. The snakes have few predators in the state, and are considered an invasive species because of the threat they pose to local wildlife. 

In Florida, Burmese pythons typically range from six to nine feet long, according to the state’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, though a python that was over 18 feet long was once discovered.  


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