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Posted by W von Papinešu on March 09, 2003 at 22:27:35:
SUN-SENTINEL (Fort Lauderdale, Florida) 07 March 03 Sea-turtle egg poacher gets 43 months in federal prison
A poacher who led an undercover cop to a cache of 341 sea turtle eggs was sentenced on Friday to 43 months in federal prison, followed by three years of probation.
James O. McGriff, 45, of Riviera Beach, was convicted earlier of attempting to unlawfully sell protected sea turtle eggs in violation of the federal Lacey Act and to unlawful possession of two rifles by a convicted felon.
The defendant was arrested last July approaching an undercover law enforcement officer and agreeing to sell a dozen turtle eggs for $30, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Wildlife officers came across McGriff while following a tip about turtle-egg sales at several locations in the Riviera Beach area. McGriff's home matched one of the locations.
After the arrest, investigators who searched McGriff's truck found the other eggs. Most of them were divided into 27 bags with about a dozen eggs each.
"He obviously didn't poach the eggs for his own consumption," Capt. Jeff Ardelean, of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, said at the time of the arrest.
Because turtle-egg poachers usually work in groups, investigators are still looking into whether others were involved inthe haul.
McGriff had 15previous Florida arrests, including a 1979 deer poaching charge in Indian River County, according to state records.
All the sea turtles that nest in South Florida are either endangered or threatened, so possessing or selling turtle eggs is considered a federal crime.