Sunday, September 9, 2007
A DOJ Press Release tells of a "three-year undercover operation conducted by federal agents of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service" and how this investigation "led to the arrests [ ] of five individuals for their roles in illegal international trade of exotic skins and parts manufactured from sea turtles and other protected species of wildlife." And this investigation, after three years, led to 2 indictments of 54 money laundering, smuggling, and conspiracy charges. The DOJ Press Release states that:
"Sea turtles are protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), a multilateral treaty of which the United States, Mexico and approximately 170 other countries are parties. CITES prohibits international trade in sea turtles or their parts or products for commercial purposes, and also restricts international trade in many other species of wildlife involved in this case which are deemed at risk of extinction and are, or may be, affected by international trade. Five of the seven species of sea turtles are listed as “endangered” in all or part of their range, pursuant to the according to the Endangered Species Act. A sixth species is listed as “threatened.” Six species of sea turtles are found on and along the coasts of Mexico."