Phoenix Man Indicted for Trying to Sell Tiger Cub | Phoenix New Times

Phoenix’s Wannabe Tiger King Indicted for Trying to Sell This Adorable Cub

The tiger cub, recovered by Phoenix police in January, "is in great condition" and receiving "world-class care."
The tiger cub recovered by Phoenix police is receiving "world-class care" at an undisclosed animal sanctuary in Arizona.
The tiger cub recovered by Phoenix police is receiving "world-class care" at an undisclosed animal sanctuary in Arizona. Phoenix Police Department

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A Maricopa County grand jury indicted a 25-year-old Phoenix man for allegedly trying to sell a wild tiger cub to undercover police officers.

Phoenix has had its own Tiger King story brewing for weeks, and like the Netflix documentary’s titular antihero, even the local king himself couldn’t evade law enforcement after fooling with these ferocious felines.

Carlos Eduardo Castro Alcaraz was indicted on February 7 on one felony count of unlawfully possessing and selling wildlife. If convicted, he faces up to 18 months in prison and a maximum fine of $150,000.

The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office announced the indictment on Tuesday.

“One of my priorities when taking office was prosecuting crimes against animals as they are some of the most vulnerable in our community,” County Attorney Rachel Mitchell said in a prepared statement. “It is reassuring to know that after law enforcement intercepted, the tiger cub was removed from the home, taken to a safe place, and is currently in good health.”

The case started on January 23 when Phoenix police officers were tipped off about a tiger cub that was listed for sale on a social media website for $25,000. Undercover cops expressed interest in buying the cub and negotiated the price down to $20,000.

After obtaining a search warrant for a residence near 27th Avenue and Baseline Road, officers located and seized the tiger cub and arrested Alcaraz. He allegedly told officers he bought the tiger cub from another Arizona man for $8,000 over concerns about the cat’s well-being, according to court documents obtained by The Arizona Republic.

Cops confiscated a small zoo’s worth of critters at the home. The tiger, baby snapping turtles, and a baby alligator were all turned over to the Arizona Game and Fish Department for follow-up care, according to police.

The tiger cub ultimately ended up with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Alcaraz faces prosecution, but the liberated baby Bengal is doing gr-r-reat!

“We don’t have tiger handlers, but we work with partners who care for that kind of animal very well,” Al Barrus, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service official who works in Arizona and New Mexico, told Phoenix New Times. “We work with experts in the field, and as far as I know, they are giving that tiger world-class care.”

Barrus said the cub is living at an undisclosed animal sanctuary in Arizona. The cub “is in great condition,” he said.

The federal agency sometimes assists local agencies with the care of exotic animals as cases move through Maricopa County courts.

“We’re doing this as a service to the [county attorney] because this isn’t our case,” Barrus said. “That way, we know the animal is being taken care of.”

Alcaraz pleaded not guilty on February 17, according to public court records. His trial isn’t on the docket just yet.
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