Sat. Apr 13th, 2024


New Mexico Department of Game and Fish conservation officers discover all manner of criminal activity while investigating wildlife crimes. On Aug. 12, 2022, conservation officers obtained search warrants for two residences and, with assistance from federal, state and local law enforcement, served both warrants in Albuquerque’s south valley. NMDGF investigators had probable cause to believe a tiger was illegally being held as a pet at one of the residences. A male inside the residence on Mountain Road N.W., identified as Carlos Giddings, 26, was taken into custody and NMSP began to clear the home. While doing so, they were advised of 3 large bags of marijuana drug paraphernalia, several rifles and a handgun. Officers also located a container of cash.

As the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish executed a search warrant regarding the purchase of the tiger, they located scales, a white powdery substance and a silver scale. They also located a 5 gallon bag of Marijuana in a crawl space in the attic. Upon executing the search warrant officers located more drugs to include Cocaine, Heroin, Fentanyl, and $40,000 in cash. Giddings stated to officers he stored the drugs inside the home for another individual.

Exotic animals illegally held in captivity are often in very poor condition when conservation officers discover them due to a lack of proper care. Department investigators spend significant time on cases like this one.

The importation and possession of nearly all wildlife or exotic species is illegal in New Mexico without a proper permit. Tigers and alligators are listed as a Group IV prohibited species, which means only a permitted zoo is allowed to possess them. Members of the general public are not allowed to keep these species for any reason. Further, possession of large carnivores, such as a tiger or alligator, presents a clear danger to the public. Applicable regulations can be found on our website at: under “Importation Permits”-“Information.”

Department investigators suspect that the tiger remains in private hands in New Mexico or a nearby state. The tiger is believed to be less than 1 year old and likely weighs 30-60 pounds at present. Tigers can grow up to 600 pounds depending on the sub-species. The department is requesting the public’s help to locate this tiger. Please call Operation Game Thief at 800-432-4263 if you have any information on the location of this tiger, or if you have information about other wildlife or exotic animals being illegally held by private individuals

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