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Press Release

Downstate Man Sentenced For Trafficking In Prohibited Wildlife

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of New York

CONTACT: Barbara Burns            
PHONE:       (716) 843-5817    
FAX #:          (716) 551-3051        

BUFFALO, N.Y.-U.S. Attorney Trini E. Ross announced today that Jose A. Der, Jr., 50, of Brooklyn, NY, who was convicted of trafficking in prohibited wildlife, was sentenced to serve two years’ probation and a $10,000 fine payable to the Lacey Act Reward fund by U. S. District Judge John L. Sinatra, Jr. 

Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron J. Mango, who handled the case state that in November 2016, Der owned a business, Der Dau Custom Made Boots & Shoes, Inc., in Brooklyn, NY. Der used Der Dau’s corporate delivery account to have four shipments of custom-made boots imported from Canada at the Peace Bridge Port of Entry. The shipments contained nine pairs of boots trimmed with exotic wildlife skins, including stingray, crocodile, python, and monitor lizard. The boots, which were being returned to Der for alteration and/or repair but were intercepted and inspected at the border and subsequently seized by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). The boots were not declared to USFWS and no required permits accompanied the shipments. The seized boots were valued at approximately $20,593. The investigation determined that following the boot seizures, Der replaced the Canadian customer’s boots but did not declare the replacement boots to USFWS or obtain permits. Between 2015 and 2020, 48 additional pairs of custom-made boots comprised with exotic wildlife leathers were shipped in international commerce by Der to customers. Der did not file a declaration with USFWS or obtained permits. The value of the custom boots which were unlawfully shipped in international commerce is $129,361.

The sentencing is the culmination of an investigation by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, under the direction of Ryan Noel, Special Agent-in-Charge of the USFWS-Office of Law Enforcement North-Atlantic Appalachian Region, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and Environment and Climate Change Canada, under the direction of Robert Baxter, Operations Manager, Wildlife Enforcement Directorates Major Case Unit, Ontario Region.

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Updated January 10, 2023