Subject Taken Into Custody in “Youtube” Florida Panther Kitten Case
USFWS Ken Warren, (772) 469-4323
March 17, 2017
VERO BEACH, Fla. -- On Wednesday, March 16, U.S. Fish and Wildlife (USFWS) Service special agents and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) officers served two state search warrants in Miami.
The warrants were served at residences of Javier Torres at 14205 SW 154th Street and Alfredo Lopez De Queralta at 1929 NW 25th Avenue. These individuals are suspected of numerous wildlife violations, including the take (the legal definition of “take” in both federal and state statutes includes activities which interferes with breeding, feeding or sheltering) of Florida panthers, a federally listed endangered species.
These search warrants were served in conjunction with the ongoing investigation into a YouTube video that appeared recently wherein individuals flushed a denning female Florida panther and molested two Florida panther kittens. The acts depicted in the video are a potential violation of Florida Administrative Code protecting imperiled Florida Wildlife as well as a violation of the U.S. Endangered Species Act.
The subjects could face up to a $100,000 criminal fine, civil penalties and one year in prison if convicted. One subject (Alfredo Lopez De Queralta) was taken into custody as a result of items found while the warrant was being served.
This is an ongoing joint investigation between the USFWS and FWC.
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