Men Charged for Poaching Thousands of Turtles

By Wire Service Content

It’s the result of an undercover investigation that began last February.

Officials documented more than 4,000 turtles that were taken out of the wild and sold over a six month period.

Duck taped turtles found. 2
One of the turtles discovered is shown by customs officials. (Bureau of Customs Naiai/Facebook via CNN)

Authorities say the suspects are part of an organized ring that collected so many turtles, they had to move to different parts of the state to find more.
Removing the native turtles can wreak havoc on fragile ecosystems.

(Sylvia MacAllister screrenshot)
(Sylvia MacAllister screenshot)

Most of the captured turtles were sent to Asia—where they can sell for as much as ten thousand dollars each in the pet trade.

More than 600 turtles have been returned to the wild.

Experts say the illegal wildlife trade in the United States is worth 19 billion dollars annually.