(New York Daily News) A birdbrained smuggler nabbed at Kennedy Airport with nine singing finches from Guyana hidden up his sleeve was sentenced Tuesday to six months in prison.
Marlon Hariram intended to sell the birds — worth more than $5,000 — in Queens, where they compete in high-stakes singing contests.
It was his fourth arrest for trying to bring the protected birds into the U.S. without a proper license.
Seven finches perished last fall in federal custody and the freeze-dried corpses are being stored in a U.S. Fish and Wildlife evidence room, according to papers filed in Brooklyn Federal Court. The surviving pair will be donated to a zoo or nature preserve.
Hariram, 31, asked Judge Dora Irizarry to delay his surrender so he could complete a vocational training course, then decided he was ready to do his jail time immediately.
“You need to wake up and smell the reality,” Irizarry said. “I don’t know what kind of fairy tale land you’re living in!”