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Pennsylvania man charged with trafficking over 3,500 turtles

/ 09:08 AM July 11, 2018

This October 25, 2017, photo provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service shows diamondback terrapin hatchlings in the agency’s custody after they were seized, before the hatchlings were released into the protected turtles’ native habitat at locations in New Jersey. David Sommers, of Levittown, Pa., was indicted Tuesday, July 10, 2018, on charges of trafficking more than 3,500 protected turtles, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania announced, after authorities say U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agents seized diamondback terrapin hatchlings from Sommers’ home in October 2017 they say he poached from New Jersey coastal marshes. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service via AP)

PHILADELPHIA — A 62-year-old Pennsylvania man has been indicted on charges of trafficking more than 3,500 protected turtles.

US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania said David Sommers poached diamondback terrapins and their eggs from coastal marshes in New Jersey. The turtles are protected under New Jersey law and by an international treaty.

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The United States Fish and Wildlife Service agents allegedly seized over 3,500 diamondback terrapin hatchlings from Sommers’ Levittown, Pennsylvania, home in October 2017.

This October 25, 2017 photo provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service shows diamondback terrapin hatchlings in the agency’s custody after they were seized, before the hatchlings were released into the protected turtles’ native habitat at locations in New Jersey. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service via AP)

The indictment charges Sommers with smuggling turtles and submitting false records for a package shipped to Canada, and four violations of the Lacey Act, which bans trade in illegally obtained wildlife, fish and plants.

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No attorney information was available for Sommers.  /kga

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TAGS: Animals, David Sommers, Diamondback terrapins, endangered species, Lacey Act, poaching, turtles, US, wildlife
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