RIVIERA BEACH MAN CHARGED WITH POSSESSION OF ILLEGALLY TAKEN SEA TURTLE EGGS OFF JUNO BEACH
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Eddie McKissick, Senior Resident Agent, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, announced the August 27, 2010, filing of a criminal complaint charging defendant Kenneth Cornelius Coleman, 47, of Riviera Beach, Florida, with unlawfully possessing sea turtle eggs, in violation of the Endangered Species Act, 16 U.S.C. 1538, and unlawfully transporting the sea turtle eggs, in violation of the Lacey Act, 16 U.S.C. 3372.
According to the criminal complaint filed Friday, Coleman was seen carrying a bag while riding a bicycle shortly after 2:00 am Friday morning in Juno Beach, FL. A Juno Beach police officer saw Coleman riding his bike with no lights and going the wrong way down Ocean Drive. Instead of stopping when asked by the police officer, Coleman sped off on his bicycle. He was ultimately arrested. Upon arrest, Coleman was wet, had beach sand in his pockets and was lightly dusted with beach sand.
At about 8:30 a.m., an officer of the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission found a red tote bag approximately 50 yards from where Coleman had been seen at around 2:00 am. The bag contained 123 sand-covered sea turtle eggs. Sea turtle eggs are protected under Federal law as a threatened species.
Mr. Ferrer commended the U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the Juno Beach Police Department and the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission for their work in the case. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lauren Jorgensen.
A complaint is merely an accusation, and defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
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.