Salamander and turtle smuggler avoids prison time
WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) — A Massachusetts man who pleaded guilty to smuggling salamanders and turtles in and out of the U.S. in violation of federal law and international agreements has avoided prison time, authorities say.
Nathan Boss, 27, of Worcester, was sentenced Monday to two years of probation, the first five months of which must be served in home confinement, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney for Massachusetts. Boss pleaded guilty in June and had faced a maximum possible sentence of 20 years in prison.
Authorities started investigating in 2017 when officials intercepted a package from Hong Kong intended for Boss that was found to contain four black-breasted leaf turtles, a species included in the Convention for Trade in Endangered Species and Wild Fauna, an international agreement that governs the importation of certain wildlife, prosecutors said.
The shipment had been identified as toy trucks.
Black-breasted leaf turtles imported into the U.S. must be declared and approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service before any shipment can be received.
Boss was also found to have illegally imported a species of salamander that can carry a fungal disease, and on multiple occasions, had illegally exported undeclared wildlife to Hong Kong and Sweden, federal authorities said.
©The Associated Press 2020