A Canadian man was sentenced to five years in a US prison after authorities caught him smuggling dozens of turtles for export.
This was not the only time 27-year-old Kai Xu entered neighbouring Michigan, strapped the 51 turtles to his leg, and sold them to his native China, where turtles are highly sought after as pets. He had reportedly bought and sold thousands of turtles by the time he was caught entering Ontario, Canada, with the contraband in 2014.
Mr Xu apologised for his crimes and thanked the judge and federal agents “for stopping my greed and ignorance,” according to the Associated Press. He told US District Judge John Corbett O’Meara that he sold the turtles way to pay for college.
“We don’t have a whole lot of cases exactly like this every day,” Judge O’Meara said.
Mr Xu’s defense attorney, Matthew Borgula, explained to the court that he was not a “sophisticated international dealer,” pointing out that smuggling the turtles in his pants was “not a good way to get them across the border.”
The actual purchase of the turtles is not considered illegal in the US, however, exporting the shelled reptiles overseas without federal permits is.
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