Canadian national Ka Yeung Marvin Chan was sentenced to 14 months in prison for his role in a conspiracy ton smuggle reptiles from the United States t
Canadian national Ka Yeung Marvin Chan was sentenced to 14 months in prison for his role in a conspiracy ton smuggle reptiles from the United States to Asia. He is the last of three reptile smugglers who used a Master File CITES permit with fraudulent export paperwork to export reptiles, including some species that are protected under Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
According to the Department of Justice, Chan owned and operated overseas businesses with Daisuke Miyauchi that sold reptiles. They would travel to the United States to purchase ball pythons, blood pythons, common tegus, Argentine tegus and iguanas, and other species and worked with another co-conspirator, Chun Ku to smuggle the reptiles out of the United States. The trio used Ku’s Master File CITES permit with fraudulent paperwork to export the animals out of the US. The Department of Justice says over a seven year period, the trio engaged in 107 criminal acts and smuggled to Asia a total of 8,738 CITES II protected animals with a retail market value in excess of $5.13 million. The DOJ says that in addition to the CITES protected animal, the men shipped 61,622 non-CITES animals, many of which were smuggled.
Ku was sentenced to one year and one day imprisonment, two years’ supervised release and a $20,000 fine. Miyauchi was sentenced to concurrent terms of 13 months in prison.
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“The defendants abused a system designed to streamline the exportation of captive-bred reptiles for law-abiding breeders. They allowed other business owners to sell and ship reptiles to buyers in Asia without going through the federal agency vetting process,” Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division said in a statement released by the department. “These prosecutions reflect law enforcement’s commitment to combat illegal wildlife trafficking.”
“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement is committed to conduct criminal investigations combating the illegal international reptile trade,” said Assistant Director Ed Grace of the Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement “The Office of Law Enforcement takes violations of the Lacey Act seriously. The three-year long investigation involving the three defendants uncovered at least 107 criminal acts, a combined monetary value of $5,134,000, and involved a conspiracy to violate the Lacey Act, smuggle CITES Appendix II reptiles out of the United States, and create and submit fraudulent documents to the government prior to export. We will continue to work combating wildlife smuggling while striving to maintain the integrity of the legal export process.”