Brunswick, Georgia Resident Sentenced To Prison For Felony Lacey Act Violation
BRUNSWICK, GA - Lewis Jackson Sr., 58, a resident of Brunswick, Georgia, was sentenced last week by Chief United States District Judge Lisa Godbey Wood to 6 months in prison for unlawfully acquiring loggerhead sea turtle eggs, in violation of the Lacey Act. Among other things, the Lacey Act makes it unlawful for any person to acquire, receive, and transport loggerhead sea turtle eggs, as loggerheads are endangered species under federal law.
According to evidence presented during the guilty plea and sentencing hearings, in May, 2012, Jackson took over 156 loggerhead sea turtle eggs from nests on Sapelo Island, Geogia. When seized from Jackson, the loggerhead eggs were packaged in a manner indicating they would be sold to others. Loggerhead eggs fetch as much as $15 per egg on the black market.
United States Attorney Edward Tarver said, “This defendant attempted to profit by unlawfully exploiting an endangered species. Loggerhead sea turtles are a national treasure that must be protected for our enjoyment and that of future generations.”
Darwin Huggins, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Southeast Region, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement, said of Jackson’s sentence: “This sentence sends a loud and clear message that the commercialization of Southeast Georgia coastal natural resources will not be tolerated. We take very seriously our mission to support our state counterpart wildlife enforcement agencies and we will continue to concentrate on and aggressively pursue individuals who are involved in the illegal trade of protected species of wildlife.”
In addition to his prison sentence, Jackson was ordered to perform 156 hours of community service, an hour for each loggerhead sea turtle egg taken.
Assistant United States Attorneys E. Greg Gilluly, Jr. prosecuted the case for the United States. For additional information, please contact First Assistant United States Attorney James D. Durham at (912) 201-2547.