Incidents like this are both amusing and sad. While the idea of somebody concealing lizards (or birds, snakes, or even monkeys) on their person in an airplane is comical, the illegal animal trade is an icky business, pushing many beautiful creatures to the brink of extinction. If you really need a lizard in your life, consider a visit the reptile section of the Los Angeles Zoo instead of buying one for your home. They've got everything from Chinese alligators to Komodo dragons in funky natural settings, and you don't have to clean up any lizard poop.
As for Plank, he probably got busted because he got greedy. If he was only smuggling one or two geckos, he may have gotten away with it, but 15 lizards is definitely pushing it. It's the politics of contraband I guess. The reptile smugglers blues.
· Customs Agents Foil Suspected Reptile Smuggler at LAX [LA Times]
· Tour Of a Money Belt [Rick Steves' Europe]
· Smuggling [Jaunted]