Editorial Staff

Editorial Staff

Bird smuggler sentenced to jail in New York

Insaf Ali, the man known for smuggling birds into New York for a second time has been sentenced to jail in the Big Apple.

He admitted that he smuggled the finches from Guyana into the US for birdsong competitions.

He was sentenced to a year and a day in prison.

“I’m going to stay away from the birds,” Ali pledged in a video he submitted to the court, “because it’s trouble.” 

He was sentenced before in a Brooklyn federal court for a crime related to bird trafficking, and he vowed it would be his last. 

Christine Delince, his attorney was not happy with the decision saying that her client detailed his longtime affinity for birds during a life fraught with personal and medical problems. 

Last summer, Ali, 62, pleaded guilty to conspiring to import wildlife illegally, after he was intercepted at John F. Kennedy Airport in January 2022 with two packs of hair curlers that smugglers use to slip the small birds past customs officials. 

But four years before that in 2018 Ali was found guilty of carrying finch-stuffed hair curlers in his socks at JFK.

In that case, he pleaded guilty to smuggling and was sentenced to two years probation and a $7,800 fine. 

According to reports, Songbird competitions have been a pastime in the Caribbean for centuries. Aficionados judge the animals on such factors as how many times they chirp or sing. 

But with the birds sometimes fetching thousands of dollars, the contests have fed wildlife trafficking that authorities in Latin America and the US have tried to combat. 


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