.

Area Sea Cucumber Smuggler Faces Jail Time, Fines

The poached ocean creatures, which are used in food and for medicinal purposes, had a market value of between $5,000 and $10,000, prosecutors said.

Sea cucumber. Photo Courtesy: Birch Aquarium via NOAA
Sea cucumber. Photo Courtesy: Birch Aquarium via NOAA

A Chula Vista man is facing a possible prison term and tens of thousands of dollars in fines for smuggling 100 pounds of sea cucumbers, a protected species, into the United States from Mexico.

Cheng Zhuo Liu, 50, pleaded guilty to the felony crime in federal court in San Diego on Thursday, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Liu admitted that he smuggled the dried echinoderms, members of the species Isostichopus fuscus, across the international border last October, concealed in the spare-tire area of his Hyundai. The poached ocean creatures, which are used in food and for medicinal purposes, had a market value of between $5,000 and $10,000, prosecutors said.

Due to overfishing, many types of sea cucumber are protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. To bring them into the United States requires permits from the country of origin and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Liu admitted that he had secured neither approval.

The defendant, who agreed to forfeit the sea cucumbers seized in the case, is in line for a maximum penalty of five years in custody and a $20,100 fine when he is sentenced June 9.

—City News Service

Mike G March 09, 2014 at 03:06 PM
Makes you wonder many times he got away with this before he was finally caught. But instead of U.S. taxpayers footing the bill shouldn't he be tried and locked up in Mexico? That was the origin of the crime. Besides, I hear they have very nice prison facilities there.

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »