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No. 116, 24th January 2014

1. Everett, Washington turtle trafficker sentenced to one year in prison

DATE: 17th January, 2014

On the 18th of January, a Washington state turtle trafficker has been sentenced to a year in prison after pleading guilty to a federal conspiracy. Nathaniel Swanson owned two reptile stores, including Swanee's Exotics in Monroe. Prosecutors said that for four years he worked with others to smuggle domestic turtle species to Hong Kong and Asian species into the U.S. The turtles had their legs taped inside their shells to keep them from arousing suspicion by moving during shipment, and many died during or soon after transport. Two co-defendants have been prosecuted, including a Hong Kong citizen who lives in the U.S. Most of the turtles that the three men allegedly shipped out of the U.S. were eastern box turtles (Terrapene carolina) while the illegally trafficked turtles were mostly the black-breasted leaf turtles (Geoemyda spengleri) and the critically endangered Arakan forest turtle (Heosemys depressa). The turtles that survived and were seized have been cared for at zoos and wildlife centres. As part of his sentence, the 36-year-old Swanson must share in the $28,500 cost of caring for them.

Link to this web article online (English)

© Matt Cardy-Getty Images

2. Kanpur city, India: Two arrested with 85 turtles at Kanpur Central

DATE: 18th January

85 turtles (unknown species) were rescued from smugglers by the Government Railway Police (GRP) at the Kanpur Central railway station in Kanpur on the 17th of January. Two smugglers, including a woman, were arrested. The turtles were packed in two sack bags and were being smuggled to Sealdah railway station in K olkata from the town of Unnao. According to GRP inspector Tripurari Pandey these tortoises were recovered from platform number seven. The GRP cops patrolling the platform found the movement of the two accused suspicious and inquired about their whereabouts. As the two tried to escape, the cops gave a chase and nabbed them. When the cops checked the two gunny bags being carried by the duo, they recovered the turtles. As the gunny bags were opened several turtles tried to escape. Hence, the gunny bags were tied again and were taken into possession by the GRP officials. The duo had been involved in the illegal smuggling of wildlife for several years, and was sent to jail after this. The turtles have been handed over to the forest department, said the official.

Link to this web article online (English)

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