News and Press Releases

Florida Businessman Sentenced to Jail for Exporting Turtles to China

September 25, 2012

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Andrew Aloise, Resident Agent in Charge, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Major Curtis Brown, Statewide Investigations, Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), announced yesterday’s sentencing of Okeechobee resident David Feltenberger (51). U.S. District Court Judge Jose E. Martinez sentenced Feltenberger to ninety (90) days in prison, and 90 days of home confinement with electronic monitoring, to be followed by three years of supervised released, a $20,000.00 fine, and 250 hours of community service on a charge of conspiracy to export turtles in interstate and foreign commerce, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371 incorporating the Lacey Act, Title 16, United States Code, Sections 3372(a)(2)(A) and 3373(d)(1)(A). Additionally, Feltenberger agreed to the forfeiture of the illegal catch of turtles and a commercial vehicle used to transport the turtles. Feltenberger had pled guilty on July 16, 2012.

Feltenberger owned a turtle aquaculture facility known as the Big Lake Fish Farm II and possessed an FWCC Turtle Aquaculture Brood Stock Collection Permit. Feltenberger’s permit allowed him to collect over 15,000 turtles of various species from the wild for use as brood stock. However, in violation of his FWCC Permit, Feltenberger purchased wild-caught turtles and instead of holding them on his aquaculture facility to use as brood stock, Feltenberger repeatedly shipped the live turtles to China, in violation of the Lacey Act.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and FWC. This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Norman O. Hemming, III, Jamie Raich 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 Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at or on

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