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Florida Defendants Face Serious Consequences for Importing Animal Parts


Humans have been trading in animals for all of history, and vibrant economies have emerged around this market. One of the most bustling animal-trafficking economies rose up in ancient Rome, where there was a constant demand for exotic beasts for their never-ending games. Today, the demand for exotic animals and their various parts continues to generate serious sums. However, criminal law is much more evolved than in the ancient times – and illegal animal traffickers face serious consequences for offenses in Florida.

Fashion Designer Pleads Guilty to Importing Snake Skin 

On November 17th of 2023, it was reported that a fashion house and its 70-year-old founder had pleaded guilty to illegally importing various types of snake skin. She and two other individuals were charged with two counts of smuggling and one count of conspiracy. The scheme revolved around the illegal import of handbags made from caiman and python leather. Both species are protected by international law.

Each handbag sold for approximately $2,000, and as a result of these business dealings, the owner of the fashion house faces up to 45 years in prison. Due to her advanced age, she may very well spend the rest of her days in prison. When engaging in business dealings that involve the leather or parts of certain animals, it is imperative that companies become aware of not only the specific source animals, but also their status under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

Florida Man Faces Up to 10 Years for Illegal Animal Trafficking 

On November 17th of 2023, the Justice Department announced that a Florida man was facing up to 10 years in prison for Lacey Act violations. The individual pleaded guilty to two counts of these violations, and his crime revolved around the trafficking of various types of turtles. In 2018, Tampa Police searched the defendant’s residence to discover many pools filled with turtles. It became obvious that the defendant was breeding turtles in these containers, and approximately 120 turtles were discovered in his possession. Authorities say that the turtles were not kept in a humane manner, and that the defendant did not possess the necessary permits for this small zoo of reptiles.

It was later determined that the defendant was selling these turtles to buyers in China through an intermediary in Oregon. This was not his first offense regarding turtle trafficking. It is worth noting that in this case, the defendant’s penalties were notably less serious than the aforementioned fashion designer. The reason is simple – the animals were still alive when discovered by authorities, and they were subsequently rehabilitated. In contrast, nothing could be done for the snakes once they were converted into handbags.

Where Can I Find a Qualified, Experienced Defense Attorney in Fort Lauderdale? 

If you’ve been searching for a qualified, experienced Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney, look no further than Haber Blank, LLP. When engaging in animal-related business endeavors, it is all too easy to break the law – often without even realizing it. If you face accusations of Lacey Act violations or similar crimes, it is imperative that you get started with a defense attorney as soon as possible. Book your consultation today to determine the most appropriate course of action.




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