Turtle Smuggler Sent to the Hoosegow


LOS ANGELES (CN) – A man who tried to smuggle 46 turtles and tortoises from California to Hong Kong was sentenced to 2 months in federal prison and 500 hours of community service.
     Kwong Wa Cheung, 36, of San Gabriel, also was fined $12,000 and 2 years probation.
     He tried to smuggle 26 Eastern box turtles and 20 African spurred tortoises, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said after he was sentenced this week.
     Internet sites on Friday morning were offering African spurred tortoises for $85, and Eastern box turtles for $400 and more.
     Post office workers were suspicious of the false name Cheung used when he tried to mail the boxfuls of turtles, so they sent it to a dead mail office in Georgia. There, one of the packages began stinking from a dead turtle. Postal inspectors found the turtles wrapped up in athletic socks.
     Both species are protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or CITES.
     Cheung pleaded guilty in August to mislabeling wildlife intended for foreign commerce. He said the boxes were full of toys.

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