An Australian Senate committee was told on Monday that if the matter goes to court and the Pirates of the Caribbean star is found guilty, he could face up to 10 years in jail or a maximum fine of $265,000.
The Department of Agriculture is working to determine how exactly the dogs entered the country, but is “unable to comment on an ongoing investigation,” the department said in a statement to WHO.
National Senator John Williams questioned department officials on how the dogs escaped customs checks in a Senate Estimates committee hearing Tuesday, WHO reported. The department said the dogs were not declared on arrival slips, which are required to be filled in by all travelers arriving in Australia regardless of whether they are flying on a commercial or private aircraft.
While the department has not disclosed details of the investigation, it is “committed to undertaking thorough investigations of all allegations of non-compliance with Australian quarantine law,” representative Wayne Terpstra said, according to the publication.
Depp, 51, first landed in hot water earlier this month after flying into Australia on a private jet with his Yorkshire Terriers, Pistol and Boo – breaking the country’s strict quarantine laws.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, an ongoing investigation found that Depp, his fellow passengers and the flight crew didn’t declare the dogs’ presence, and they were only discovered after the pups were taken to a local groomer and photos were posted on social media.
The Australian Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, then threatened to have the Yorkies euthanized unless they were flown out of the country within 50 hours.
The dogs were subsequently put on a flight back to the U.S.. Depp was in Australia filming Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.
Depp has not commented publicly on the matter.