Posts Tagged ‘Reptiles’

Operation Shellshock: Look Familiar?

Friday, March 20th, 2009

Operation Shellshock is making the rounds.  From the NYT.

Reptile Smugglers Are Arrested, Authorities Say

(New York State Department of Environmental Conservation)
In New York, 17 people were charged with 14 felonies as part of Operation Shellshock, a reptile smuggling bust by state environmental authorities.

The smugglers moved their goods across borders using secret compartments, a Maryland meat processing plant and the help of a corrupt Louisiana turtle farm. Their lucrative product: rattlesnakes, snapping turtles and salamanders.

This was the portrait of a trade in illegal reptiles and amphibians that New York State environmental authorities painted on Thursday, when the two-year undercover investigation called Operation Shellshock
ended with criminal charges against 18 people. More charges were made by American and Canadian and officials in other states, the New York officials said.  

The case had the familiar ring of a drug bust, but it was instead built in the unlikely world of herpetological shows and included charges against leaders at organizations like the New York Turtle and Tortoise Society, the Long Island Herpetological Society, and the pet Web site (a Florida-based company facing New York charges)…  Read the rest of the NYT story

Here is Canada’s Press Release.

 Following is the NY State DEC Press Release:

 For Release: IMMEDIATE                                                                                                                              


DEC’s In-Depth Undercover Investigation Nets 18 Arrests
             An extensive undercover investigation into the poaching, smuggling and illegal sale of protected reptiles and amphibians by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has led to charges against 18 individuals for 14 felonies, 11 misdemeanors and dozens of violations, DEC Commissioner Pete Grannis announced today.
             The investigation, dubbed “Operation Shellshock,” uncovered a lucrative, international black market for poaching and selling native, protected New York species – turtles, rattlesnakes and salamanders – through the Internet and at herpetological shows, Commissioner Grannis said. Investigators found thousands of New York turtles being laundered through “middlemen” in other states, then getting shipped overseas for meat and other uses…  More with Photos.

Stephen Colbert is Afraid of Black Snakes, too!

Friday, February 27th, 2009

Stephen Colbert, beacon of white, yesterday you used tarantulas to demonstrate how uncomfortable it is to talk about race in America. Stephen, if you remember, on December 14 I challenged you to open 2009 the same way God started the world, with a serpent. But here you are almost three months later covering yourself in spiders (no doubt imported from Mexico under NAFTA) when all around you are good old American metaphors for the taking up of.   Why don’t you use some of those good old American (South Carolinian) okeetee corn snakes to talk about something people really feel uncomfortable about, like sex.  Sex sells alot better than race and what man isn’t empowered by a python around his neck. Stephen, step up and let America hear your black snake moan…

The Colbert ReportMon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c

LIZARD KING Sparks Call for Law Enforcement Inquiry in Malaysia

Wednesday, October 1st, 2008

A letter running today in Malaysia’s NST written by the Regional Director of TRAFFIC Southeast Asia uses THE LIZARD KING to call for more investigation by the country’s wildlife department, Perhilitan.   As you know, LIZARD KING is the true story of Special Agent Chip Bepler’s heroic effort to take down an international reptile smuggling syndicate.  The work of Ms. Abdullah, TRAFFIC, and others to stop illegal trade is the ongoing, living version of that heroic tale…

“Wildlife trade: Take a close look, Perhilitan”

By : Azrina Abdullah, Regional director, TRAFFIC Southeast Asia
New Straits Times, October 1

“I REFER to your report “Malaysian who loved his wildlife” by Elizabeth John (NST, Sept 21) and the letter from Bryan Christy of Philadelphia (“Facts tell the tale of book’s intentions” — NST, Sept 26) on the reaction of the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) to his book, The Lizard King.  Traffic, a non-governmental organisation that monitors the wildlife trade, is heartened by NST’s feature on the issue of illegal wildlife trade, a crime which many do not consider serious.

Christy’s book provides an introduction to the murky world of illegal reptile-dealing. Perhaps the most shocking part of this account to local readers is the revelation that one of the world’s largest illegal dealers is a Malaysian operating from Penang. He had boasted to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service’s undercover agent that he could obtain the horn of the Sumatran rhino, a protected species under Malaysian law. (more…)