(CN) – A 34-year-old Louisiana man was sentenced to three years probation and a $2,500 fine after pleading guilty Tuesday to illegally trafficking wild box turtles to Texas in violation of federal wildlife laws.
Byron Paul Pitre admitted he sold three wild Louisiana box turtles (Terrapene carolina) to an undercover agent in February and shipped them to Corpus Christi, Texas, in violation of the Lacey Act. Sale and transportation of wild box turtles from Louisiana to Texas is also illegal under Louisiana state law.
“Our wildlife and environment are a precious natural resource that we need to protect,” U.S. District Judge John D. Rainey said at the sentencing.
Agents executing a search warrant at Pitre’s residence in Louisiana in May seized more than 230 box turtles, 119 map turtles, 45 leopard tortoises, 20 Sulcata tortoises and 88 tortoise eggs.