- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A New York City man has pleaded guilty to smuggling nearly 40,000 piranhas into the U.S. by having them mislabeled as silver tetras.

Joel Rakower and his fish distribution company agreed Wednesday to pay more than $70,000 in fines and restitution, a local NBC affiliate reported.

Authorities said Mr. Rakower admitted buying the carnivorous fish from a Hong Kong supplier that he instructed to mislabel them.

Over a two-year period, he smuggled 39,548 piranhas, worth $37,376, that were then sold to fish retailers throughout the U.S., the report said.

Piranhas could pose a risk if introduced to native waters. Last month, as many as 60 swimmers were injured in a frenzied piranha attack in the Parana River in Rosario, Argentina.

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