PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) — A Pennsylvania man has been indicted on charges of trafficking more than 3,500 protected turtles.READ MORE: 4 Dead, 2 Injured After Shootings At 2 Different Locations In Wilmington, Delaware
U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania says David Sommers poached diamondback terrapins and their eggs from coastal marshes in New Jersey.
The turtles are protected under New Jersey law and by an international treaty.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agents allegedly seized over 3,400 diamondback terrapin hatchlings from Sommers’ Levittown, Pennsylvania, home in October.READ MORE: Kaylin Johnson, Teen Killed In West Philadelphia Triple Shooting, Remembered As 'Definition Of Freak Athlete'
The indictment charges 62-year-old Sommers with smuggling turtles and submitting false records for a package shipped to Canada and four violations of the Lacey Act. The law bans trade in illegally obtained wildlife, fish and plants.
“The distinctive coloration and pattern of the diamondback terrapin make it highly susceptible to illegal poaching and smuggling,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Wood in a statement. “The Department of Justice will continue to work with its law enforcement partners to prosecute those who break our nation’s wildlife protection statutes for the sake of illegal profit.”
No attorney information was available for Sommers.MORE NEWS: Man Shot In Parking Lot of Courtyard Marriott Hotel, Philadelphia Police Say
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