Feds: Smuggler pleads guilty to shipping protected turtles

June 21, 2018 - 9:03 am

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Prosecutors say the 'ringleader of an international syndicate of wildlife smugglers" has pleaded guilty, again, to smuggling turtles.

The U.S. Attorney's Office said in a news release that 38-year-old Steven Verren Baker of Holly Hill entered the plea Tuesday in Charleston.

Authorities intercepted packages containing 46 turtles in 2016. News outlets report that investigators think U.S. collectors bought turtles considered exotic in China, while Chinese customers collected American turtles, to be used in some cases as food or medicine.

Baker now faces up to five years in prison for conspiring to smuggle internationally protected wildlife. The latest crimes were committed while Baker was serving three years' probation after pleading guilty in 2014 to illegally trafficking turtles taken from the wild in South Carolina for sale in Florida.

AP Editorial Categories: 
Comments ()