Police rescue tiger cub listed for sale in Phoenix

Kye Graves
Arizona Republic
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Phoenix police rescued a tiger cub on Monday evening after a man attempted to sell it via social media.

According to court documents, officers from the Phoenix Police Department became aware of a social media profile advertising the sale of a tiger cub. Officers contacted the account and the owner notified them the cub was on sale for $25,000.

Officers also learned the account, later determined to be owned by 25-year-old Carlos Castro-Alcaraz, had posted several videos of a tiger in both a residence and the backyard, records said.

Officers then negotiated with Castro-Alcaraz, bringing the price for the cub down to $20,000.

According to court documents, Castro-Alcaraz told officers that their friend was in possession of the tiger, prompting a second social media profile to get in touch with officers.

That second account gave officers more videos of a tiger inside a home.

A records check further indicated a car belonging to Castro-Alcaraz had recently been seen outside a residence near West Carson Road in Phoenix, according to court documents.

At 4:30 p.m. on Jan 23, unmarked officers began surveillance on the residence and observed two of Castro-Alcaraz's vehicles parked in the driveway.

According to court documents, Zillow photographs of the interior and exterior of the house matched both what officers observed and the social media videos containing the tiger cub.

At 6:57 p.m., officers were granted a search warrant for the residence where they found the cub inside the southwest bedroom closet.

Officers confirmed that the tiger cub was the same one they had seen in the videos posted to social media, fitting both the description and size.

Two hours later, Castro-Alcaraz was arrested as he arrived back home.

According to court documents, Castro-Alcaraz told officers he had purchased the tiger approximately one week ago for $8,000. Castro-Alcaraz said a man in Arizona had not been taking care of the tiger, and he bought the cub in hopes of rescuing it.

Alcaraz was booked into jail on one count of possession of live wildlife and one count of game and fish violations.

The tiger cub has since been turned over to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife, where it remained under investigation.

No other information had been released.

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