Secret squirrels: Smuggler caught with rodent in pants
A squirrel smuggler used social media to document his ballsy mission of shoving the rodents down his pants and bringing them to Australia from Bali.
"He's ready for the flight" and "It f------ worked, f--- all you haters" were just two of several captions Lucas Seth Jolly attributed to photos and videos of squirrels before he was caught at Brisbane airport.
He received a jail sentence, fully suspended, in Maroochydore District Court on Monday.
Jolly, now 20, purchased the juvenile squirrels at a live animal market in Bali before placing them in socks and hiding them in his checked baggage on a flight on December 4, 2018.
They cost $15 each.
Commonwealth prosecutor Sam Hill said a follower had tipped off police who awaited Jolly's arrival in Australia.
The Tewantin man collected his bag off the carousel upon arrival and walked to a bathroom where he stashed the squirrels in his pants.
He then made his way toward the screening area before taking a squirrel out of his pants.
"Hey mate, there's a squirrel on the floor," he told a border security officer.
To his surprise, the officer asked him where the second squirrel was and told him they had been awaiting his arrival.
"Who told you?" Jolly asked the officer.
"It's in my pants."
The court heard the squirrels were kept in the luggage for a total of eight-and-a-half hours.
"During that time, the squirrels did not have access to food and water, and they were exposed to unregulated temperatures," Mr Hill said.
He said they also lacked ventilation and space and would have likely defecated and urinated in the socks.
He said the squirrels were not native to Australia and risked bringing plague and rabies into the country.
They were subsequently euthanised.
Jolly on Monday pleaded guilty to importing conditionally non-prohibited goods, importing regulated items, and importing regulated live specimens in a cruel manner.
Mr Hill said the first two charges carried a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail and it was open to Judge John Allen to sentence Jolly to actual jail time.
Defence barrister Patrick Meehan argued a sentence to be served in the community was more appropriate.
He highlighted his client had no relevant criminal history and his youth at the time of the offending.
Mr Meehan said Jolly had made a reckless mistake which he regretted.
"He acknowledges the harm he could have caused to the people of Australia," he said.
The court heard Jolly worked part time in gardening and played AFL which he hoped to make a career out of.
Mr Allen considered Jolly's young age and that there was little premeditation or sophistication to the offences.
He put the behaviour down to "immaturity and idiocy".
"The squirrels were transported in a cruel manner in that the way they were secreted and the length of the journey and that they would experience a great deal of discomfort including unregulated temperatures inside the hold of the aircraft," Mr Allen said.
He sentenced Jolly to 18 months in jail with immediate release on the condition he be of good behaviour for five years.
If he commits any offences in that time he will forfeit a $1000 bond and may be required to serve his sentence.
Outside court, Jolly said he was genuinely sorry for trying to smuggle the squirrels.
He said he didn't understand the risk they posed and was immature at the time.
"The fact I put it on Instagram just shows that," he said.
"I did everything for show back then."