NEW YORK (AP) — A New York City man has pleaded guilty to smuggling endangered turtles to and from Hong Kong by stashing them in socks or boxes labeled as “snacks.”
Hsien Lin Hsu entered the plea on Feb. 13 in federal court in Brooklyn.
The 46-year-old Hsu was arrested last year after federal agents at Kennedy Airport intercepted five boxes addressed to him that contained 42 turtles. Another 135 turtles were found at his home.
The live contraband included Chinese Box Turtles, Black Breasted Leaf Turtles and Chinese Big Headed Turtles. All are protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.
Wildlife conservation groups say exotic turtles are valued in China and other places by people who eat or collect them.