MIAMI -- They looked like plastic Easter eggs, but when airport inspectors opened the shells, they found not chocolate or candy, but 72 unhatched pigeon eggs illegally smuggled from Cuba.
Federal investigators said Rufino Blanco, 47, intended to hatch the eggs and sell them through his pet store, El Morrillero, named after a type of pigeon.
Blanco and his daughter, Claribel Blanco Cuellar, 21, pleaded guilty Wednesday to illegally importing wildlife from Cuba into Miami. When the daughter was first questioned about the eggs -- found wrapped in cotton with source and parentage written on top -- she said they were for Santeria ceremonies. That cover story was quickly disproved.