Man gets probation for trafficking threatened turtles

AP News
|
Posted: Oct 20, 2015 5:48 PM

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey man was sentenced to five years' probation Tuesday for trafficking turtles that were listed under state law as threatened species.

Patrick Elfers, of Jersey City, shipped the turtles to buyers by tying them in tube socks to restrict their movement and packing them in boxes, prosecutors said.

Elfers, 48, pleaded guilty in June to conspiring to traffic threatened species.

Elfers admitted that he didn't have the required permits to have the various species, which included spotted turtles, North American wood turtles and Eastern box turtles. He had them for more than two years ending in March 2014.

He advertised on wildlife trade websites and shipped turtles to buyers in New York, putting them in boxes unsuitable for the shipment of live animals.

Elfers is banned from residing with any wildlife and his computer will be monitored for online wildlife trade activity under the terms of the probation.

He was also fined $30,450 to pay for the care of the 40 turtles that he forfeited as part of the plea deal, including 27 Eastern box turtles, one Florida box turtle, three three-toed box turtles, five Gulf Coast box turtles and four North American wood turtles.