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Press Release

Two Men Charged with Conspiring to Illegally Export Turtles

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Louisiana

U.S. Attorney Kenneth A. Polite announced that ERIC COTTRELL, age 44, of Minden, Louisiana, and RAYMOND CHIU, age 72, of Foster City, California, were charged today in a three-count Indictment with conspiracy (18 U.S.C. § 371), violations of the Lacey Act (16 U.S.C. § 3372), and smuggling goods from the United States (18 U.S.C. § 554).

According to court records, from March 25, 2015 through the present, COTTRELL and CHIU conspired to purchase and smuggle unpermitted turtles, including Diamondback Terrapins.  Both men were arrested earlier this month and were released on bond.

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 are ten years imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and a three year term of supervised release.   

U. S. Attorney Polite reiterated that the Indictment is merely a charge and that the guilt of the defendant must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

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.

Updated January 28, 2016