A man will be caged for the next five years for his role in smuggling endangered turtles from the U.S. to China, federal prosecutors announced.
Yan Xie, 30, was sentenced to five years in federal prison, 500 hours of community service and a $15,000 fine for his role in the scheme, according to federal prosecutors in Oregon. He was sentenced during a court hearing last week.
From May 2017 until October 2018, Xie conspired with others to buy nearly 770 live turtles from dealers across the U.S., according to prosecutors.
All of the turtles were protected by the international endangered wildlife agreements, federal prosecutors claimed.
Xie facilitated the purchase and transportation of the turtles, which had a value of more than $150,000, prosecutors noted. Investigators said Xie tried to smuggle the turtles via U.S. mail and commercial airline flights to China.
Police arrested Xie at his Los Angeles home in November 2018.