Man tried to sell tiger on social media, police say

Police say Carlos Castro-Alcaraz, 25, was arrested after a deal was made to sell the young tiger to undercover officers for a reduced price of $20,000.
Published: Jan. 25, 2023 at 10:05 AM CST
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PHOENIX (Arizona’s Family/Gray News) — A Phoenix man is facing charges after a real tiger cub was listed for sale on social media for $25,000.

Phoenix police say Carlos Castro-Alcaraz, 25, was arrested Monday after a deal was made to sell the young tiger to undercover officers for a reduced price of $20,000.

Police later served a warrant at Castro-Alcaraz’s home. In addition to the tiger, an American alligator and a dozen snapping turtles were also seized.

“You could hear the tiger in the background moaning. You can hear that something wasn’t normal,” said Sgt. Brian Bower. “We don’t know if there’s a bigger ring for exotic animals. This is definitely just the tip of the iceberg as a potential, but our detectives will look into it and will want to identify if there’s a larger scheme behind this.”

Castro-Alcaraz was booked into the Maricopa County jail on a number of felony wildlife offenses. According to court paperwork, he told officers he purchased the tiger cub last week for $8,000 from another Arizona man.

The suspect reportedly said the man was not taking care of the animal and that he bought it because he felt bad for the tiger. The animals have since been turned over to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

According to the Arizona code for Game and Fish, there’s a long list of animals that are illegal to own unless you have the proper licenses or permits. Some obvious ones are big cats, alligators and crocodiles, bears and large primates. Others on the list are weasels, European hedgehogs, new world porcupines, spider monkeys, woodchucks, sloths, armadillos, Gila monsters and piranhas, to name a few.

Phoenix police rescued a tiger cub they said a man was trying to sell on social media. (Phoenix Police Department)