Calvert Woman Accused of Trying to Sell Tiger Cubs

A Calvert woman is out of jail, after she allegedly tried to sell six tiger cubs in McAllen.

Michelle Ashton, 49, was arrested Sunday for interfering with police duties.

Ashton has since been released on a $5,000 bond. Police say charges are pending against her, amid concerns about no permits to transport the tigers and other possible wildlife violations.

Ashton, who we're told is the co-owner of the Spring Hill Wildlife Ranch outside of Calvert, was allegedly trying to sell the tigers to a pre-arranged buyer in a Wal-Mart parking lot.

Police say the animals appear to have been bound for Mexico.

An officer spotted a group of people in three cars Sunday making a suspicious transaction in the Wal-Mart parking lot. The group moved to the parking lot of a Mervyn's department store across the street where police caught up to them and questioned them.

Authorities said they found four white tigers cubs and two orange tigers cubs inside pet carriers. The Bengal tigers cubs were turned over to federal wildlife officials while authorities questioned three people, including Ashton.

Police say Ashton attempted to barricade herself in the truck containing the tigers before she was arrested.

The case remains under investigation.

Federal officials say that a white tiger cub can fetch $5,000 in Mexico while orange tigers can be sold for $900.

Federal wildlife authorities have placed the animals at the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville.

An official with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says the cubs appear to be healthy and range in age from two to 10 weeks.

News Three talked with people associated with the Spring Hill Wildlife Ranch, but they refused to comment.


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