SEATTLE (AP) — A Washington state turtle trafficker has been sentenced to a year in prison after pleading guilty to a federal conspiracy.

Nathaniel Swanson owned two reptile stores, including Swanee’s Exotics in Monroe. Prosecutors said that for four years he worked with others to smuggle domestic turtle species to Hong Kong and Asian species into the U.S.

Seattle U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan says the turtles had their legs taped inside their shells to keep them from arousing suspicion by moving during shipment, and many died during or soon after transport.

Two co-defendants have been prosecuted, including a Hong Kong citizen who lives in the U.S.

Most of the illegally trafficked turtles were protected under international law. They included the black-breasted leaf turtles and the critically endangered Arakan forest turtle.

The turtles that survived and were seized have been cared for at zoos and wildlife centers. As part of his sentence, the 36-year-old Swanson must share in the $28,500 cost of caring for them.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

More From CBS Seattle

Download The App

Listen Live