Fairport Man Pleads Guilty To Violating The Lacey Act
CONTACT: Barbara Burns
PHONE: (716) 843-5817
FAX: (716) 551-3051
ROCHESTER, N.Y.-Acting U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Michael Collalto, 50, of Fairport, NY, pleaded guilty to four violations of the Lacey Act (interstate transport or receipt of illegally taken wildlife) and was sentenced to four years probation, 300 hours of community service and ordered to pay a $5,000 fine by U.S. District Judge Charles J. Siragusa.
According to Assistant U.S. Attorneys Craig R. Gestring and Tiffany H. Lee, who handled the case, the defendant was a reptile enthusiast and collector who maintained a collection of snakes in his residence. In order to augment and improve his snake collection, Collalto would sometimes trade, barter, buy, or sell snakes and collect snakes in the wild and bring them back to his residence. The defendant’s conviction involves four specific incidents:
• Between April 30, 2011, and June 15, 2011, the defendant traveled from his home in Fairport to a large, regional reptile show and exhibition in Hamburg, Pennsylvania. Through a trade, Collalto received one Northern pine snake, a threatened species under New Jersey law which was taken illegally under the laws of New Jersey.
• Between May 1, 2011, and June 1, 2011, the defendant drove from Fairport to southern New Jersey and collected one gravid corn snake, an endangered species under New Jersey law.
• Between December 1, 2011, and December 20, 2011, Collalto received three California mountain kingsnakes, shipped by commercial parcel delivery service, that came from a supplier in Oregon. The snakes were collected illegally in Oregon.
• Between June 1, 2012, and July 1, 2012, the defendant drove from Fairport to southern New Jersey and collected one gravid Coastal Plains milk snake, a species of special concern under New Jersey law.
The plea and sentencing are the result of an investigation by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, under the direction of Honora Gordon, Special Agent-in-Charge, Northeast Region.