Watch CBSN Live

Johnny Depp could face jail time for bringing dogs to Australia

Johnny Depp could face up to 10 years in prison for secretly bringing his two Yorkshire terriers into Australia, authorities stated Tuesday.

The actor was accused of sneaking the dogs, Pistol and Boo, into the country on his private jet without declaring them or putting them in the required 10-day quarantine period upon arriving Down Under, where he's been filming the fifth "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie.

On Monday, a senate committee was told if the case goes to court, Depp could face up to a decade in prison or a maximum fine of 340,000 Australian dollars (about $263,296), the Guardian reports. The pilot could also face up to two years behind bars for his role in the situation.

Officials, the report added, have referred to the case as "very serious."

The controversy erupted earlier this month when reports surfaced on social media that a handler had taken the terriers to a dog groomer, alerting the potential breach to authorities. Australian quarantine authorities ordered Depp, 51, and his 29-year-old wife, Amber Heard, to fly the dogs out of the country (which he did) or they would be put down.

"If you start letting movie stars -- even though they've been the 'Sexiest Man Alive' twice -- come into our nation (with pets), then why don't we just break laws for everybody?" Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce said.

The filming of "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales" was disrupted in March when Depp, who plays the pirate captain Jack Sparrow, cut his hand on a glass door. He brought the dogs on his return flight from the U.S., where he underwent surgery to his hand.