News and Press Releases

Florida Resident Imprisoned for Importing Endangered and Threatened Species from the Bahamas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 23, 2012

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), Randy Donnelson, Director of Air Operations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Vernon Foret, Director of Field Operations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Miami Field Office, Rear Admiral William D. Baumgartner, Commander, 7th Coast Guard District (USCG), announced that Glenn Bridges was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Donald L. Graham to six (6) months in prison, to be followed by two years of supervised released, and 100 hours of community service for importing endangered and threatened species from the Bahamas.

Bridges previously pled guilty on February 29, 2012, to one count of conspiracy to possess and import wildlife, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371; one count of 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 one count of making a false statement to the U.S. Coast Guard, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1001.

According to the court documents, on November 17, 2011, Bridges attempted to import spiny lobster (Panulirus argus), Hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys 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 for each species set forth 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).

Additionally, Bridges agreed to the forfeiture of the illegal catch. According to the Plea Agreement other documents filed with the court, approximately 155 spiny lobster tails, four Hawksbill sea turtle shells, two Loggerhead sea turtle shells, one Green sea turtle shell, and 34 queen conch, are subject to forfeiture.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of NOAA Office of Law Enforcement, the U.S. Coast Guard, CBP, and FWC. This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Norman O. Hemming, III and Antonia Barnes.

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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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