Lizard King Michael Van Nostrand Charged With Illegally Trafficking Wildlife

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Lizard King Michael Van Nostrand Charged With Illegally Trafficking Wildlife

Van Nostrand, if convicted, faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Michael Van Nostrand, the man known as the “Lizard King” and who was sentenced to eight months in prison back in 1998 for smuggling protected wildlife, has been charged, along with his company, Strictly Reptiles, Inc. with harvesting and selling wild-caught freshwater turtles, which is illegal.

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Michael Van Nostrand, the man known as the “Lizard King” and who was sentenced to eight months in prison back in 1998 for smuggling protected wildlife, has been charged, along with his company, Strictly Reptiles, Inc. with harvesting and selling wild-caught freshwater turtles, which is illegal.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida, said in a statement released to the media that Van Nostrand and his company, between around April 2017 through April 2019 created a network of so-called collectors who sought out and harvested certain freshwater turtle species and then turned them over to Van Nostrand, who allegedly falsely labeled the turtles as being captive-bred.

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The attorney’s office also charged that Van Nostrand’s co-conspirator collectors falsely wrote on export disclosure documents that the reptiles were captive-bred rather than wild-caught. This assertion, the attorney’s office contends, was a lie.

The attorney’s office further asserts that Van Nostrand, Strictly Reptiles, and the co-conspirator collectors trafficked hundreds of Florida turtles, and especially the Florida three-stripe mud turtles (Kinsperson baurii), for profit.

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Van Nostrand, if convicted, faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. His company, if convicted, faces a criminal fine of at least $500,000.