Law Enforcement
Northeast Region

Law Enforcement Story and News Release Archive - 2012

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Snakehead fish

“Frankenfish” smuggler brought to justice

November 15, 2012

A Toronto man and a pet store near the Ontario city have been brought to justice for illegally exporting and selling snakehead fish from Canada into the U.S. Service law enforcement agents were instrumental in the success of "Operation Serpent," the multi-agency international undercover operation leading to the convictions.

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Truck caught hauling illegal fish

Two Massachusetts men plead guilty to fish and wildlife crimes

November 6, 2012

Two West Springfield businessmen were convicted Friday of dealing in live freshwater fish without the required Massachusetts state permits. Paul Zombik and his father Michael Zombik pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Michael A. Ponsor to importing live bait and game fish into Massachusetts in violation of state law and then selling the fish in interstate commerce, all in violation of the federal Lacey Act. The case was investigated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement, the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs, the Massachusetts Environmental Police and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Bureau of Environmental Crimes Investigation. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin O’Regan of Ortiz’s Springfield Office.
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snapping turtle

Turtle Meat Processor Sentenced for Turtle Trafficking

August 13, 2012

The owner of a Maryland turtle meat processing facility, who was investigated by Service special agents and New York State environmental conservation officers, has been fined $40,000 in connection with his illegal interstate purchases of common snapping turtles -- a species protected under New York State law. The defendant was also ordered to donate $20,000 to support turtle research and education at the Buffalo Zoo, Teatown Lake Reservation, and Buffalo Museum of Science.

Read the news release >>
Learn more about our law enforcement program >>


white rhinos

Operation Crash Defendant Pleads Guilty to Federal Felony Charges

August 01, 2012

A Manhattan antiques expert, one of several people arrested in an ongoing Service investigation of rhino horn trafficking, has pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice and violating the Lacey Act. This individual became a suspect in Operation Crash as he was feeding information about other horn traffickers to the Service as a "concerned" citizen interested in rhino conservation. “Horn trafficking of any type fuels demand for this material and encourages rhino poaching in Africa and Asia, further imperiling species that are already at risk of extinction,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe. "Service special agents continue working to bring rhino horn traffickers to justice and ensure that the United States is not a player in this illegal trade."

Read the news release >>
Learn more >>


ivory seized from businesses

NYC Retailers Charged for Illegal Ivory Sales

July 13, 2012

Two Manhattan businesses have pleaded guilty to State felony charges in connection with illegal trafficking in elephant ivory. The two retailers, who were among the subjects of an ongoing investigation by the Service and the New York Department of Environmental Conservation, must pay $55,000 in fines and forfeit nearly $2 million worth of ivory. “This case shines a spotlight on the plight of the African elephant and the ongoing efforts within the law enforcement community to control illegal trade of elephant ivory” said Neil Mendelsohn, Acting Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Northeast Region, said in a press statement.

Read the news release >>
African elephant conservation >>


Bald eagle

Bald Eagles Killed in Talbot County, Md.
Reward Offered for Information

May 2, 2012

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is asking the public for information about two bald eagles that were killed in Talbot County, Md. The Service is offering a reward of up to $2,500 for information leading to a conviction.

Read More >>


Eastern black rhino

Special Agent in Charge, Sal Amato, featured on "Behind the Schemes"

March 19, 2012

Sal Amato, Special Agent in Charge of the Northeast Region's Office of Law Enforcement, talks about the Service's significant role in global rhino conservation on Saving Rhino's weekly web series, "Behind the Schemes."

Watch the Video >>


CITES Logo

Service Proposes Updates to CITES Regulations Governing Trade in Endangered and Threatened Wildlife

March 8, 2012

The Service today announced proposed changes to regulations implementing the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) designed to bring existing U.S. regulations in line with international agreements, clarify language and otherwise make it easier for the public to understand how to comply with permit requirements for trade in protected species.

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Striped Bass

$10,000 Fine for Commercial Fisherman Convicted of Felony Fishing Act Violations

March 2, 2012

A North Stonington, Conn., man was sentenced today in federal court for trafficking in and making false records for 12,140 pounds of illegally-harvested Atlantic striped bass.

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White Rhinos

Service 'Crashes' Down on Suspected Rhino Horn Trafficking

Feb. 24, 2012

More than 150 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service special agents and refuge officers, with Homeland Security Investigations agents, Internal Revenue Service agents and state conservation officers, have arrested seven people and executed 13 search warrants as part of Operation Crash, a nationwide undercover investigation of illegal trafficking in rhinoceros horn.

Read More >>


Bald Eagle

Maine Man Gets Prison Sentence for Killing Bald Eagle

Feb. 14, 2012

Stephen L. Voisine, 51, of Wytopitlock, Maine was sentenced yesterday in U.S. District Court in Bangor, Maine to one year and one day of prison for killing a bald eagle and possessing a firearm after having been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.

Read More >>
Read about the case in the Bangor Daily News >>


Burmese Python

Salazar Announces Ban on Importation and Interstate Transportation of Four Giant Snakes that Threaten Everglades

Feb. 3, 2012

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has finalized a rule that would ban the importation and interstate transportation of four nonnative constrictor snakes that threaten the Everglades and other sensitive ecosystems across the United States.

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Bald eagle

Bald Eagle Shot in Caroline County, Md.
Reward Offered for Information

Feb. 2, 2012

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in conjunction with the Maryland Natural Resources Police are asking the public for information about a bald eagle that was shot and killed in Caroline County, Md. The Service is offering a reward of up to $2,500 for information leading to a conviction.

Read More >>


Snapping Turtle

Maryland man pleads guilty to attempted turtle smuggling

Jan. 25, 2012

Michael Johnson, operator of Turtle Deluxe Inc., has pleaded guilty to a Lacey Act charge of Attempted Trafficking in Prohibited Wildlife. In addition to pleading guilty, Johnson faces a $40,000 fine and has made donations to the following organizations: $7,500 to the Buffalo Zoo; $7,500 to Teatown Lake Reservation; and $5,000 to the Tifft Nature Preserve (Buffalo Museum of Science). All donations will be used for turtle research and education.

Read More >>


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Last updated: November 15, 2012