Illinois Man Sentenced for Violating the Lacey Act
U.S. Attorney Kenneth A. Polite announced that KEITH CANTORE, age 35, of Monee, Illinois, was sentenced today for violating the Lacey Act by attempting to purchase threatened turtles that were captured in violation of state law.
U.S. District Judge Kurt D. Engelhardt sentenced CANTORE to 41 months incarceration, to be followed by three years of supervised release and $100 special assessment. Additionally, CANTORE was ordered to pay approximately $41,000 in restitution.
According to court records, CANTORE was charged with three counts of purchasing and/or attempting to purchase threatened species of turtles that were illegally captured from the wild. CANTORE pled guilty to attempted purchase of 100 North American Wood Turtles for $40,000.
According to court documents, the charges against CANTORE stemmed from undercover operations conducted by agents from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Homeland Security Investigations, and the United States Postal Inspection Service. Court documents also note that CANTORE was previously convicted of federal charges related to the illegal sale of turtles and that he continued to illegally sell turtles while on bond for the current charges.
“The illicit trade in threatened and endangered species represents the destructive results of unfettered greed,” said Special Agent in Charge Raymond R. Parmer, head of ICE Homeland Security Investigations in New Orleans. “The poaching of Wood Turtles has had a significant negative impact on its population in the wild. In effect, this defendant was willing to help drive this species to extinction to make a few bucks. Law enforcement agencies like HSI and our partners at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Postal Inspection Service are eager to work with conservation services to stop the illegal trade in wildlife to ensure future generations get to enjoy these species in their native habitats.”
U.S. Attorney Polite praised the work of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Homeland Security Investigations, and the United States Postal Inspection Service in investigating this matter. Assistant United States Attorney David Haller was in charge of the prosecution.