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Chinese man admits sneaking snakes over border in socks

FILE - An amelanistic (albino) western hognose snake. (Long Island Herpetological Society)

A man who was caught trying to sneak snakes into Canada in his socks has pleaded guilty.

Federal prosecutors in Buffalo say 28-year-old Chaoyi Le faces up to five years in prison after pleading guilty Tuesday to violating wildlife regulations.

He was arrested in 2014 at the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge in western New York after Canadian border agents discovered three live albino western hognose snakes hidden in his socks. At first, Le said he'd found them in a New York park, but eventually admitted buying them.

Authorities say Le, a Chinese citizen who lives in Mississauga, Ontario, was trying to avoid a U.S. Fish and Wildlife inspection.

Court documents say that on the same day, Le also mailed several snakes from New York to China.

Sentencing is set for Oct. 30.

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