Phoenix man arrested for allegedly trying to sell tiger cub to undercover officers

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. 24, 2023 at 1:27 PM MST|Updated: Jan. 24, 2023 at 5:23 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — 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 on 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 on Carson Road, near 27th Avenue and Baseline Road. 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 with Phoenix PD. “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,” said Bower.

Castro-Alcaraz was arrested and 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. Castro-Alcaraz reportedly said the man wasn’t 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.

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. But some odd and obscure illegal pets on the list are weasels, European hedgehogs, new world porcupines, spider monkeys, woodchucks, sloths, armadillos, Gila monsters, and piranhas, to name a few.