FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
TUESDAY, MAY 18, 2004
TDD (202) 514-1888
MAN SENTENCED FOR KILLING A SEA TURTLE
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Thomas L. Sansonetti, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Environmental and Natural Resources Division, announced today the sentencing of Bert E. Jenkins in Tacoma, Washington, who had collected a green sea turtle from a beach in Ocean Park, Washington, and who later killed the turtle for its shell.
Jenkins, a local Ocean Park resident, collected the turtle in February 2001. The green sea turtle was spotted in the morning on the beach near Ocean Park by other local area residents, who contacted the National Marine Fisheries Service. Shortly before the National Marine Fisheries Service arrived to collect the turtle to take it for care, Jenkins and another individual took the turtle from the beach by truck. Shortly after collecting it, in an effort to kill the turtle, Jenkins shot the turtle in the head with nail gun, and left it with the truck while he was at work that day. Later in the day, the turtle was observed crawling away from the truck. Later that evening, while the turtle was still alive, it was shot in the head with.22 caliber rifle and killed. Jenkins later cut the turtle out of its shell, discarded the turtle carcass, and kept its shell.
On May 13, 2004, Jenkins was sentenced to six months home detention with electronic monitoring, ordered to perform forty hours of community service, and placed on two years of probation. In December 2003, Jenkins pled guilty to violating the Lacey Act, which prohibits the transport of wildlife that was taken in violation of federal law.
The green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) inhabits both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. In the Pacific, it typically ranges from Mexico up to northern California, but can be found as far north as southern Alaska. In the wild, green sea turtles can live for 100 years, grow to a length of over three feet, and weigh up to 400 pounds. The green sea turtle populations are imperiled, and they are protected under the Endangered Species Act.
The investigation of this case was lead by Special Agents of the National Marine Fisheries Service Office for Law Enforcement with the assistance of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. The case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Western District of Washington, and the Environmental Crimes Section of the Department of Justice.