A Queens man could face almost three years in jail after he was caught trying to smuggle a suitcase full of endangered fish from Malaysia to JFK. And Chee Thye Chaw, 47, probably would have gotten away with it too, if the airline hadn't lost his luggage. Chaw allegedly packed 16 live Bonytongues in plastic water bags inside a styrofoam-lined suitcase. The fish are highly sought-after and sell for $5,000 to $8,000 in Chinatown; some say the metallic-looking Bonytongues bring instant wealth and good luck. Like when you luck out and the airline loses your luggage!

After the airline located Chaw's suitcase, a customs agent discovered the fishy contents during a routine search. This all happened in April, but it wasn't until last Tuesday that Fish and Wildlife Service agents arrested Chaw at his home in Elmhurst. An agent disguised as a UPS delivery man brought Chaw his luggage to confirm that it was his, and found several more Bonytongues in the house. He was charged with smuggling and faces up to 33 months in prison; currently he's out on a $100,000 bond signed by his employer at Great Eastern Energy, a natural gas supplier in Brooklyn.

"Chaw stated that he thought it was 'bull----' that the fish are protected by the government when 'there are thousands of them,'" according to the arrest warrant. "Chaw stated that he is a lover of fish, brought the fish into the United States for personal use, and did not plan to sell them." It's unclear why it took eight months for the feds to move on Chaw but, ironically, several of the endangered fish he smuggled into the U.S. have died in police custody.