PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) — A Pennsylvania man has been indicted on charges of trafficking more than 3,500 protected turtles.
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.
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.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)