PHILADELPHIA (CN) – A man who illegally imported hand-sized beetles from Taiwan cannot be released early from 3 years probation, a federal judge ruled. The Hercules, rhinoceros and goliath beetles were found after postal workers heard scratching noises coming from a box marked “toys, gifts and jellies.” One beetle escaped and was at large for a day.
Marc DiLullo pleaded guilty in January 2009 to “unauthorized movement of plant pests,” and was fined $5,025.
In denying DiLullo’s request for early termination of probation, the judge wrote: “At his sentencing, both Mr. DiLullo and his counsel argued that the regulations of the Department of Agriculture he violated were without merit and that the large, human hand-sized insects imported by Mr. DiLullo would not endanger United States agriculture because the insects could not survive in the environment.”
But that’s not how it was, the judge said: “In fact, the undisputed facts of the case revealed that one of the ten insects shipped from Taiwan to Mr. DiLullo without a PPQ permit escaped from its packaging and was missing within the United States Postal Service branch until found alive more than one day later. Mr. DiLullo’s statements raised serious questions as to his acceptance of responsibility for his illegal actions. Nevertheless, I chose to impose a sentence of probation, but felt that a significant period of supervision was appropriate to afford adequate deterrence to Mr. DiLullo’s future criminal conduct.”
DiLullo asked to get off early so he could move to Iowa and “start a new life.”
But U.S. Magistrate Judge Henry Perkin wrote: “Mr. DiLullo fails to meet his burden of showing evidence of any extraordinary conduct which might warrant early termination of his probation. While I appreciate that Mr. DiLullo wishes to start a new life, the need to serve the balance of his sentence of probation should not be an impediment to this goal as long as he obtains the necessary permissions from his Probation Officer. In any event, a desire to start a new life is not grounds for early release from probation.”