For breaking Australia’s strict animal quarantine laws last month, actor Johnny Depp was informed this week he could face up to 10 years behind bars, and has been spotted back on U.S. soil.
Depp reentered Queensland in April by private jet to resume filming on the latest Pirates of the Caribbean film with his wife Amber Heard. The couple’s family pets, two Yorkshire terriers named Boo and Pistol, were also onboard and were later photographed at a dog-grooming salon on the Gold Coast.
After customs officials became aware of their presence through social media, they gave the Mortdecai actor two days to fly them back to Los Angeles, and threatened to put them down.
Australia’s Agriculture minister Barnaby Joyce said two weeks ago, “if he doesn’t take Boo and Pistol back, we do have to euthanize them… Just because he’s Johnny Depp doesn’t make him exempt from Australian laws.”
An Australian senate committee heard Monday Depp could be jailed for up to 10 years or fined a maximum penalty of $340,000 for not declaring the dogs when he and his wife touched down, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
Additionally, the actor’s pilot could also face a maximum two-year prison sentence.
An ongoing investigation has declared that Depp, fellow passengers on his plane, and the flight crew all failed to declare the presence of the dogs, which politicians and others have called “very serious.”
The dogs have been back in California for more than a week, where Depp’s wife later joined them.
The Daily Mail reports the couple may have spent as much as $320,000 to fly them home.
Depp has not spoken publicly of the scandal, but was spotted in the United States Monday, after he reportedly returned to celebrate the birthday of his 16-year-old daughter.
A representative for the star claimed this week the situation has been overblown, and told the Brisbane Times: “I can’t go into detail on our filming schedules or the movements of individuals but I can tell you that nothing in that report has any relation to reality.”
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is set to premiere July 7, 2017.
The film’s production was disrupted in March, after Depp cut his hand on the set. He brought the dogs to Australia on his return flight from the U.S., after having surgery.