News and Press Releases

RIVIERA BEACH MAN CONVICTED OF POSSESSING ENDANGERED SEA TURTLE EGGS SENTENCED TO 30 MONTHS IN PRISON

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 24, 2011

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and William C. Calvert, Supervisory Law Enforcement Officer, United States Fish & Wildlife Service, West Palm Beach, announced that Kenneth Cornelius Coleman, 48, of Riviera Beach, Florida, was sentenced today by U. S. District Judge Kenneth Ryskamp to 30 months in prison following his conviction for unlawfully possessing endangered green sea turtle eggs in violation of the Endangered Species Act, 16 U.S.C. 1538, and transporting them unlawfully in violation of the Lacey Act, 16 U.S.C. 3372. The judge also sentenced Coleman to 3 years of supervised release to follow his prison term. Coleman had pleaded guilty to the charge on December 16, 2010.

According to indictment and other court documents, on August 27, 2010, Coleman was stopped around 3:00 A.M. by a Juno Beach police officer after he saw Coleman riding his bike with no lights and going the wrong way down Ocean Drive. After the police officer identified himself and asked Coleman to stop, Coleman sped away on his bicycle. After a perimeter of the area was set up, Coleman was apprehended and he told police he had dropped a flannel shirt. He 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 located a red tote bag that was later found to contain 123 sand-covered green sea turtle eggs. The bag was found approximately 50 yards from where Coleman had been seen at around 3:00 am.

The sea turtle eggs are protected under Federal law as an endangered species. Although an exact market value for the eggs is difficult to ascertain because they are illegal contraband, it is estimated that the sea turtle eggs are worth more than $350 on the black market.

The U.S. Attorney 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 in the West Palm Beach U.S. Attorney’s Office.

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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.

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