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Gila monster. Photo by OZinOH CC BY-NC 2.0.

Scottsboro man sentenced for trafficking protected reptiles

BIRMINGHAM, AL - A Scottsboro man was sentenced Tuesday for the illegal possession, transportation and sale of protected reptiles in violation of the Lacey Act, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Special Agent in Charge for the Southeast Region Luis J. Santiago.

Chief U.S. District Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn sentenced David Langella, 43, to three years’ probation for conspiring to violate the Lacey Act and violating the Lacey Act. The judge ordered that the first four months of probation be served in home confinement and that, during his probation, Langella could not collect reptiles or assist anyone else in collecting them. The investigation by federal and state authorities established that from 2006 through 2009, Langella traveled to Arizona to hunt and capture Arizona state-protected reptiles. According to the felony and misdemeanor charges filed in federal court, Langella conspired with others to violate the Lacey Act, as well as Arizona and Alabama state laws. Langella transported some of the illegally captured reptiles back to Scottsboro for his own collection and some were distributed to other individuals. In addition, Langella provided guiding services to others for the capture of Arizona protected reptiles.

“This case demonstrates our commitment to protect wild populations of protected species. We will continue to work with state agencies to pursue those involved in the unlawful trafficking of these native species in interstate and foreign commerce,” Santiago said.

The Lacey Act is a federal wildlife law which makes it unlawful to transport sell, receive, acquire or purchase wildlife which was taken, transported, possessed or sold in violation of state, federal or Indian tribal laws or regulations. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement, and the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division, Special Operations Unit, investigated the case, which was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Alabama, in conjunction with the Environmental Crimes Section of the U.S. Department of Justice, Environment and Natural Resources Division.

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