Photo Gallery: Exotic Animals Rescued at L.A. Airport

Photo Gallery: Exotic Animals Rescued at L.A. Airport
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These rare, highly sought-after clarion angelfish were smuggled into Los Angeles International Airport from Mexico within a shipment of legal fish.

Smugglers of marine wildlife often mix illegal animals with similar-looking legal imports, hoping the authorities won't notice, said Samuel Jojola, an agent with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The smugglers likely planned to sell the fish to collectors for profit, according to Jojola.

The clarion angelfish comes only from a very small geographic area—the islands on the southern tip of Baja California.

The combination of its rarity and beautiful coloration make it a prized commodity for U.S. fish collectors.

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—Photograph courtesy Los Angeles U.S. Attorneys Office/U.S. Department of Justice
 
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