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Press Release

Worcester Man Sentenced for Wildlife Smuggling

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

BOSTON – A Worcester man was sentenced today in connection with unlawfully importing and exporting salamander and turtle species.   

Nathan Boss, 27, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Timothy S. Hillman to time served and two years of supervised release with the first five months to be served in home confinement. Judge Hillman also imposed the special conditions that Boss not possess any wildlife and that he successfully participate in and complete a community service project. In June 2020, Boss pleaded guilty to two counts of smuggling wildlife into the United States, two counts of smuggling wildlife out of the United States and one count of making a false statement to a federal agent.

The investigation began in 2017 when Boss lied to federal investigators about the identity of a recipient of wildlife illegally imported into the United States. Subsequently, federal investigators intercepted an inbound U.S. Postal Service package from Hong Kong that was addressed to “Shelton Boss” at an address on Mildred Avenue in Worcester. The package was found to contain four black-breasted leaf turtles (Geoemyda spengleri), a species included in the Convention for Trade in Endangered Species and Wild Fauna, an international agreement joined by the U.S. that governs the importation of designated wildlife. Specifically, any black-breasted leaf turtle imported into the United States must be declared and approved by Fish and Wildlife Service before any shipment can be received. 

Boss was also found to have illegally imported an injurious species of salamander which can carry a fungal disease and is prohibited from importation into the United States. Further investigation revealed that, on multiple occasions, Boss illegally exported undeclared wildlife destined for locations in Hong Kong and Sweden.  

United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling and Ryan Noel, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement made the announcement. Assistance with the investigation was provided by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Massachusetts Environmental Police and the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. Assistant U.S. Attorney Nadine Pellegrini of Lelling’s Criminal Division prosecuted the case.

Updated October 5, 2020