Coral Distributor Sentenced in United States District Court
BOISE – Christopher Kay Conk, 39, of Middleton, Idaho, was sentenced yesterday to two years of probation for violating federal laws related to the protection of marine wildlife, U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced. On December 8, 2011, Conk pled guilty to one felony charge of smuggling goods from the United States; one misdemeanor charge of trafficking wildlife, which is a violation of the Lacey Act; and one misdemeanor charge of violating the Endangered Species Act. U.S. District Judge William B. Shubb of the Eastern District of California also ordered Conk to perform 100 hours of community service.
According to the plea agreement, Conk owned and operated Coral Fanatics, LLC, a webbased retailer that was located in Middleton. Conk shipped coral internationally and misrepresented the coral in shipping documents. Conk did not have a license to engage in the business as a commercial exporter of wildlife. Conk shipped coral that was protected by international treaties.
In a related case, U.S. Attorney Olson announced that Deidra M. Davison, 31, of Star, Idaho, was also sentenced today for one misdemeanor charge of trafficking wildlife and one misdemeanor charge of violating the Endangered Species Act. Davison is Conk's former spouse. Judge Shubb ordered Davison to serve two years of probation and perform 80 hours of community service. She pled guilty to the charges on December 19, 2011.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service-Office of Law Enforcement, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration-Office of Law Enforcement, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations.
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