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'Operation Jungle Book' rounds up 16 accused animal smugglers in SoCal

This Aug. 23, 2017 file photo provided by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection shows an agent holding a male tiger cub that was confiscated at the U.S. border crossing at Otay Mesa southeast of downtown San Diego early Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017.
This Aug. 23, 2017 file photo provided by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection shows an agent holding a male tiger cub that was confiscated at the U.S. border crossing at Otay Mesa southeast of downtown San Diego early Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection via AP

From a baby tiger cub to monitor lizards and a macaw, authorities have seized dozens of animals and filed charges against 16 people as part of what they say is the largest wildlife trafficking sweep in Southern California.

Federal authorities call the sweep "Operation Jungle Book."

Among the animals seized are king cobras, turtles, fish and a Bengal tiger cub that a California man said he bought on the streets of Tijuana, Mexico, for $300.

Luis Eudoro Valencia has pleaded not guilty to smuggling the kitten into the U.S. after border officials found the cub lying on the passenger-side floor of his car in August.

If convicted, Valencia faces up to 20 years in prison.

The cub now lives at the San Diego Zoo.