Man Pleads Guilty To Trafficking Box Turtles

November 29, 2017

Byron Paul Pitre was convicted, sentenced to three years probation, and fined $2,500.

Ivan Kuzmin/Shutterstock

A man has pleaded guilty to trafficking box turtles to Corpus Christi. Tex. Byron Paul Pitre, 34, was convicted, sentenced to three years probation, and fined $2,500 for trafficking box turtles to Corpus Christi. Tex. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Pitre, last February, sold and shipped three wild Louisiana box turtles (Terrapene carolina), to an undercover agent in Texas. Under Louisiana state law, the sale and transportation of wild box turtles is illegal. 

"One of the primary objectives of the FWS - Office of Law Enforcement is to combat the illegal trafficking of wildlife,” Acting Assistant Director Edward Grace of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said in a statement released to the media.

“The special agents and federal prosecutors work hard to bring defendants to justice, and hopefully this case provides a deterrence to others that want to profit from the illegal sales of protected wildlife.”

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In May 2017, FWS agents executed a search warrant on Pitre’s home and discovered more than  230 box turtles, 119 map turtles, 45 leopard tortoises, 20 Sulcata tortoises and 88 tortoise eggs, according to the statement by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Texas.

Pitre also admitted to agents that he unlawfully obtained the turtles and made deals to sell them to individuals in Texas, Nevada and New Jersey.

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