Skip to main content

LATEST UPDATES: Tracking COVID-19 (coronavirus)

Iguana Meat, A Delicacy in Mexico, Seized At The Border

— On June 7th, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Otay Mesa passenger port of entry found a cooler full of fish. Upon further inspection, they found hidden iguana meat.

A 37-year-old male, a U.S. citizen, has been taken into custody and turned over to the U.S. Fish and Wildife Service, charged with illegally importing raw meat. CBP officers seized a total of 159 pounds of iguana meat, which is believed to have a street value of $4,500.

Last March, Customs and Border Protection discovered nearly 58 pounds of iguana meat in the city of Laredo, on the Texas-Mexico border.

While not an endangered species nor illegal in Mexico, iguana meat sold in the U.S. apparently is a violation of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora and the Lacey Act.

The meat is typically used in tamales in the Oaxacan coast and other Mexican isthmus regions. Among the U.S. Latino population, it is believed to cure colds and even restore sexual desire.


San Diego News Matters podcast branding

KPBS' daily news podcast covering local politics, education, health, environment, the border and more. New episodes are ready weekday mornings so you can listen on your morning commute.

  • Don’t have time to keep up on the latest news? We’ve got you covered with a mid-week check-in every Wednesday afternoon.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Curious San Diego banner

Want more KPBS news?
Find us on Twitter and Facebook, or sign up for our newsletters.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.