Man who transported leopard cats sentenced in California

POSTED: 4:35 pm PST February 8, 2007

LOS ANGELES — A man who traveled to Los Angeles International Airport in 2002 with two leopard [cat] cubs concealed in a backpack was sentenced Thursday to probation and ordered to pay a $5,000 fine.

Chris Edward Mulloy, a 40-year-old Palm Springs resident, had the two cats — when fully grown, the animals are similar in size to a domestic house cat — with him when he arrived at the airport on June 13, 2002, on a flight from Thailand, according to authorities.

While he was going through Customs with the cubs hidden in his backpack, his traveling companion, Robert Cusack, was stopped by agents after an exotic bird flew out of his suitcase. Cusack then admitted he had two pygmy monkeys in his pants.

After his sentencing, at which U.S. District Judge J. Spencer Letts ordered him to spend two years on probation, Mulloy said he carried the cubs through Customs as a favor for Cusack. Mulloy said he had not known until the flight was in the air that Cusack was carrying the animals.

“Like a fool, I took the backpack carrying the cats into the country,” Mulloy said.

Possibly because of the disturbance created by the discovery of the monkeys, Mulloy made it through Customs, according to the government. Mulloy then called his sister, who picked up the cats and drove them to San Diego, court papers state.

Chris Mulloy and Darlah Kaye Mulloy pleaded guilty in November to one count of receiving and concealing illegally imported merchandise. She was sentenced to probation. Cusack was sentenced in 2002 to time served of about six months.

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