Two Men Arrested for Conspiring to Illegally Export Turtles
U.S. Attorney Kenneth A. Polite announced that ERIC COTTRELL, age 44, of Minden, Louisiana, and RAYMOND CHIU, age 72, of Foster City, California, appeared today before United States Magistrate Judge Karen Roby after being arrested on a criminal complaint which charged them with violations of the Lacey Act (16 U.S.C. § 3372), smuggling goods from the United States (18 U.S.C. § 554), and conspiracy (18 U.S.C. § 371).
According to court records, from March 25, 2015 through the present, CHIU and COTTRELL conspired to purchase and smuggle unpermitted turtles, including Diamondback Terrapins.
If convicted, the maximum penalty as to the Lacey Act and conspiracy charges are five years imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and a three year term of supervised release. The maximum penalties as to the smuggling charge is ten years imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and a three year term of supervised release. A detention hearing is scheduled for next week.
U.S. Attorney Polite praised the work of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Homeland Security Investigations in investigating this matter. Assistant United States Attorney Gregory M. Kennedy is in charge of the prosecution.