A New York man was facing a stiff sentence after admitting to smuggling three Burmese pythons over the border from Canada. According to the the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of New York, the charges carried a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000.

The Post Standard said the 38-year old Queens man crossed over the northern New York border on a bus from Montreal to New York City. The Standard says the man had three "young adult snakes hidden in the inner thigh of his pants", that were held in "snake bags tied to the pants’ drawstring."

See Also: Man in New York Takes Wrong Turn Into Canada, Gets Arrested at Border

He faced his punishment Wednesday afternoon, according to documents.

Invasive Species

Pythons are an invasive species that have wreaked havoc on some ecosystems, particularly in Florida. The importation of these snakes was banned in the United States by the U.S. Department of the Interior in 2012.

The problem has become so big in parts of the Everglades, that many native species are being wiped out by the snakes. Even some alligators are not safe.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation classifies larger species of constrictor snakes, such as pythons, as dangerous animals, and thus are illegal to own unless you hold a Dangerous Animal License.

See Also: New York State DEC Seizes Two Large Pythons [PICS]

Man Faces Lighter Sentence 

A press release from the Office of U.S. Attorney Carla B. Freedman say the New York City man's cargo was discovered by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Court documents say the man purchased the snakes for $2,500 at a store in Canada.

Federal prosecutors say the man was sentenced Wednesday to a year of probation and fined $5,000. Considering the potential sentence the charges could carry, the Queens man got off lightly.

See Also: New York Lawmaker Pushes to Ban Wild Animals Like Elephants or Whales as Pets

Illegal Pets To Own In New York State