Florida Resident Pleads Guilty to Importing Endangered and Threatened Species from the Bahamas
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Otha Easley, Acting Special Agent in Charge, NOAA Fisheries Office of Law Enforcement, Southeast Division, Major Jeff Hubert, Regional Commander, South A Region, Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), Kevin Sposetta, Director of Marine Operations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Vernon T. Foret, Director of Field Operations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and Rear Admiral William D. Baumgartner, Commander, 7th Coast Guard District (USCG), announced that Glenn Bridges, 49, of Fort Pierce, pled guilty yesterday to Counts 1, 2 and 10 of an indictment, which counts charged him with conspiracy to possess and import wildlife, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371; importation into the United States of wildlife possessed and transported in violation of the laws of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, in violation of the Lacey Act, Title 16, United States Code, Sections 3372(a)(2)(A) and 3373(d)(1)(A); and making a false statement to the U.S. Coast Guard, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1001.
Sentencing has been scheduled for May 21, 2012 at 10:30 a.m. before U.S. District Judge Donald L. Graham in Fort Pierce, Florida.
According to documents filed with the court and statements made during the plea, on November 17, 2011, Bridges attempted to import spiny lobster (Panulirus argus), Hawksbill sea turtle (Trachemys imbricate) shells, Loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) shells, a Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) shell, and queen conch (Strombus gigus), all in violation of the possession limits established in the laws and regulations of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, specifically, the Fisheries Resources (Jurisdiction & Conservation) Regulations, Part X, Sections 47(1)(a), (b) and 48(1)(f). As part of his guilty plea, Bridges agreed to forfeit the illegal catch, which included approximately 155 spiny lobster tails, 4 Hawksbill sea turtle shells, 2 Loggerhead sea turtle shells, 1 Green sea turtle shell, and 34 queen conch.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of NOAA Office of Law Enforcement, the U.S. Coast Guard, CBP, and FWC. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Norman O. Hemming, III.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.