News and Press Releases

Customs Broker, Data Freight Corporation Pleads Guilty to Illegal Importing of Endangered Wildlife

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 23, 2013

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Dave Pharo, Resident Agent in Charge, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement (OLE), announced today that Miami, Florida corporation Data Freight Corporation pled guilty today, pursuant to a plea agreement, to a single count Information, charging it with the illegal importation and possession of wildlife, in violation of the Lacey Act.

Sentencing for Data Freight Corporation (DATA) is scheduled for October 29, 2013, before United States District Judge K. Michael Moore.

According to Court documents and statements at the hearing, DATA permitted the importation and transportation into the United States of Siberian sturgeon (Acipenser baerii) without completing Declaration Form 3-177, declaring the importation of fish or wildlife, and obtaining a permit for the importation of the same pursuant to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (“CITES”).

Information developed by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – OLE resulted in the charge against DATA in the Information. According to documents in the Court file, this case involved over four hundred and sixty-eight grams of caviar product.

The importation of said wildlife, such as caviar, is prohibited by the federal Lacey Act, 16 U.S.C. §§ 3372(a)(1), (a)(4), and 3373(d)(2). The Lacey Act, in pertinent part, makes it unlawful for a person to import and possess endangered species of wildlife which has been, or is intended to be, imported, sold, purchased, or received from any foreign country or transported in interstate or foreign commerce.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of U.S. Fish and Wildlife – OLE. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Norman O. Hemming, III.

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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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