A chef from Peru who arrived at Los Angeles International Airport with a duffel bag filled with 40 vacuum-sealed frozen piranhas was questioned for five hours before being released with the fish, it was reported Thursday.
Virgilio Martinez, who owns a restaurant in Peru, landed at LAX this past week on his way to cook dinners at two Los Angeles area restaurants and in his luggage were the fish, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“I was extremely obsessed about bringing piranhas because we serve piranhas in the Amazon at (my restaurant), so I said, ‘Guys, why not take a risk to bring piranhas to L.A.?’ ” Martinez told the Times. “You probably have preconceived notions about piranhas because of movies but for me, piranhas, we go fish them.”
Martinez said customs officers “went into a panic” when they opened his bag and his attempt at humor, saying he had “bones” and “flesh” in the bag, landed him in an interrogation room.
He was questioned for five hours before officers bought his story that he was using the piranhas for a special dinner for a friend, the Times said.
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