Erin Dean 310-328-1516, Scott Flaherty 916-978-6156
A federal court in Los Angeles Monday (July 14) ordered Jereme Lee James of Long Beach, Calif., to perform 2,500 hours of community service, pay a $2,000 fine and $125 special assessment fee and serve five years probation for concealing and possessing Fiji Island banded iguanas into the United States, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today.
James, 34, was convicted in April of one felony count of concealing wildlife that had been brought into the United States contrary to law and one misdemeanor count of possessing animals that were traded contrary to the provisions of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). The Fiji Island banded iguana (Brachylophus fasciatus) is threatened with extinction and is protected by CITES, a treaty through which the United States and more than 170 other countries protect certain species of fish, wildlife, and plants against over exploitation by regulating trade in the species.
After receiving a tip that James possessed several specimens of the endangered species, special agents of the Fish and Wildlife Service opened an undercover investigation. During the investigation, James told an undercover operative in 2003 that he sold a trio of Fiji Island banded iguanas for $32,000. After a series of meetings with the defendant, Service special agents executed a search warrant at James? house in April of 2007 and recovered four Fiji Island banded iguanas.
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.