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Florida man pleads responsible to smuggling 1000’s of turtles to Hong Kong and Germany

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A Florida man pleaded responsible to smuggling 1000’s of turtles to Germany and Hong Kong, and falsifying paperwork to hide his crimes.

John Michael Kreatsoulas, 36, of Alva, Florida, bought wildlife via his enterprise Omni Reptiles Inc., an unregistered enterprise of home and worldwide wholesale commerce of wildlife, the Division of Justice mentioned in a information launch Wednesday.

Kreatsoulas would ship wildlife, together with protected species, to clients within the U.S. and abroad, together with in Hong Kong and Germany.

A number of the wildlife included numerous species of turtles, together with three-striped mud turtles and Florida mud turtles, that Kreatsoulas and his co-conspirators would seize from the wild, officers mentioned.

Kreatsoulas would ship the wildlife via the Miami Worldwide Airport and falsified U.S Fish and Wildlife Service kinds so that they said that the turtles have been captive-bred and never captured from the wild, the DOJ mentioned. He ran the scheme from July 2015 to July 2021, officers mentioned.

Kreatsoulas pleaded responsible to 1 rely of conspiracy to visitors wildlife and 9 counts of falsifying data in violation of the Lacey Act, which prohibits commerce in wildlife, fish, and vegetation which were illegally taken or bought.

He faces a most penalty of 5 years in jail for every rely.

Kreatsoulas is scheduled to be sentenced on Might 17.

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