Massachusetts man admits to turtle, salamander smuggling

In this July 5, 2019, photo provided by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, a loggerhead sea turtle returns to the ocean after nesting on Ossabaw Island, Ga. The giant, federally protected turtles are having an egg-laying boom on beaches in Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina, where scientists have counted record numbers of nests this summer. (Georgia Department of Natural Resources via AP)

WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) – A Massachusetts man has pleaded guilty to illegally importing and exporting turtles and salamanders in violation of federal law and international agreements.

Federal prosecutors say 27-year-old Nathan Boss, of Worcester, pleaded guilty Monday to smuggling wildlife out of the U.S., smuggling wildlife into the U.S., and lying to federal investigators.

During an investigation that started 2017, authorities intercepted a package from Hong Kong intended for Boss that contained four black-breasted leaf turtles, a species barred from importation by an international agreement.

Authorities say Boss also imported a species of salamander that can carry a fungal disease and is prohibited from importation into the U.S.

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