THIS IS WHY WE ARE SO STRICT!!!

Oddball

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Woman charged with smuggling fish in skirt

Customs officials hear ‘flipping’ noises, find 51 tropical species

— There must have been something fishy about the way she walked. Customs officials said Monday they stopped a woman asirt she arrived Friday in the southern city of Melbourne on a flight from Singapore and found 51 live tropical fish allegedly hidden in a specially designed apron under her skirt.

"During the search customs officers became suspicious after hearing 'flipping' noises coming from the vicinity of her waist," the Australian Customs Service said in a press release. "An examination revealed 15 plastic water-filled bags holding fish allegedly concealed inside a purpose-built apron."

The species of fish was not immediately known, but customs officials warned they could carry diseases that could decimate Australian fish if they escaped into local rivers.

Customs officers will charge the woman once they establish what species the fish are. If convicted of smuggling wildlife, she faces a fine of up to U.S. $83,617 and could also get a prison sentence of up to 10 years.
 
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VENEZUELAN CAUGHT SMUGGLING EXOTIC FISH AND CORAL IN SUITCASE AT MIAMI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT


BY MICHAEL E. MILLER


Venezuelans are used to going to great lengths to obtain everyday items. Under the country's late president Hugo Chávez and his socialist party, basic foodstuffs have become scarce. Some Venezuelans wait hours for groceries, while others resort to smuggling items like chicken, flour, and toilet paper across the border from Colombia.

Shortages of rare fish and exotic coral probably can't be blamed on Chávez, however.

Yesterday, Venezuelan national Oscar Cordova-Cobian was charged with smuggling marine wildlife after TSA agents at Miami International Airport found more than 100 specimens of live corals, clams, and fish in his checked luggage.

See also: Art By God Owner Convicted of "Illegal Rhinoceros Trafficking"

Cordova-Cobian nearly got away with his crustacean caper. The 42-year-old had already passed through MIA security and was waiting to board a late-night Santa Barbara Airlines flight to Venezuela when TSA agents spotted something fishy inside his checked luggage.

TSA called the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and an FWS agent interviewed Cordova-Cobian's cousin Javier, who was still at the security gate. Confronted with an itemized receipt for $2,070 worth of sea creatures from a Hialeah pet store, Javier confessed that Oscar planned to resell them in Venezuela for more than twice that amount.

The FWS agent alerted Homeland Security, and Cordova-Cobian was prevented from boarding his plane. Instead, he waived his Miranda rights and readily admitted to the FWS agent that he had ignored the advice of the Miami pet store and was smuggling sea life back to Venezuela without the proper permits.

(None of the corals, fish, clams, or "live rock" was endangered. However, under international law, individuals must obtain permission before exporting them to other countries.)

In fact, Cordova-Cobian went even further, volunteering that he had smuggled in the past.

Describing himself as a "marine hobbyist and non-practicing dentist," the Venezuelan admitted to previously "exporting approximately 100 marine fish totaling roughly $2,000 on his previous visit to the United States, in his luggage. Cordova-Cobian added that he maintains a company website,granjadecoral.com, on which he advertises marine life, and previously owned a pet shop in Venezuela."


An hour later, Cordova-Cobian copped to having two other suitcases full of sea critters. He pleaded not guilty in a Miami federal court Monday and faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted.

Cordova-Cobian is far from the first person to try to sneak wildlife through Miami International Airport. In 2011,a man was caught trying to board a flight with turtles and snakes stuffed inside pantyhose.

Florida has a brisk black-market animal trade. Last week, the owner of the well-known Miami shop Art by God was convicted of arranging an illegal shipment of black rhino horns overseas.

The international coral trade, meanwhile, has exploded in recent years as advancements in technology have made home aquaculture labs possible.
 
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Man faces 10 years jail after being arrested as he stepped off flight with $300,000 worth of exotic fish in his luggage

· Singaporean man caught allegedly trying to bring in $300,000 worth of exotic fish in his luggage

· Many rare fish died when they were packed inside plastic bags

· Customs joined forces with local police and environmental authorities to bust the importation ring

· A second man was arrested in a follow-up raid on 2 homes in Adelaide

· A fish known as an Asian Arowana, valued at almost $30,000, was found in the follow-up operation

By FRANK COLETTA FOR DAILY MAIL AUSTRALIA

PUBLISHED: 09:00 EST, 9 February 2015 | UPDATED: 10:57 EST, 9 February 2015


A Singaporean national faces up to 10 years in jail if convicted of smuggling exotic fish worth more than $300,000 into Australia.

Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS) busted the plan to bring the fish into Adelaide when they inspected the traveller's luggage, uncovering up to 20 plastic bags.

The investigation began when officers apprehended the suspect at Adelaide Airport, on a flight from Singapore. Inside each bag they found a number of live and dead endangered fish listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

According to The Adelaide Advertiser, Kuok Weai Alex Chang appeared in the local Magistrates Court by video link.

The publication reported that prosecutor Elim Chan told the court: 'There are international investigations under way and the current charges may well not be the final ones' she said.

A statement from Customs said that 'officers referred the fish to officers from the Department of Agriculture, who valued the fish at over $300,000'.

A joint operation involving the local police and environmental authorities conducted further investigations, revealing that 'the man had wider links to this trade'.

Raids were undertaken at two more Adelaide premises, where more prohibited fish were uncovered, including one Asian Arowana, valued at almost $30,000.+2

The owner was arrested and was bailed to also appear in the Adelaide Magistrates Court.

ACBPS Regional Commander Central Region, James Watson, said illicit wildlife trafficking was a horrible trade, but that working together with partner agencies was the best way to stop it.

'These arrests should send a strong message to anyone involved in wildlife smuggling; Customs and Border Protection is serious about working with our law enforcement partners to target you,' Mr Watson said.

Department of Agriculture’s Compliance Division head Raelene Vivian said any importation of live animals increased the bio-security risk that exotic pests and diseases could be introduced that would damage Australia’s environment, fisheries and economy.

'When Australia’s import rules aren’t followed then risks go unchecked and put our precious aquatic and marine life as well as our $2.3 billion fisheries industry in real jeopardy,' Ms Vivian said.

'Our bio-security officers are always on the lookout for intentional non-compliance and when we detect it we work across government to put an end to it.'
 
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New York man pleads guilty to smuggling nearly 40,000 piranhas into the U.S.

By Rande Iaboni, CNN

Updated 8:32 PM ET, Sat February 1, 2014

Joel Rakower pleaded guilty Wednesday to smuggling nearly 40,000 piranhas into the United States.

Story highlights

· Joel Rakower pleads guilty to smuggling piranhas into the United States

· He instructed foreign supplier to label exotic fish as silver tetras, statement says

· Rakower agrees to pay $70,000 in fines and restitution

New York City resident Joel Rakower bit off more than he could chew when he smuggled nearly 40,000 piranhas into the United States.

Rakower pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court in Brooklyn to smuggling the deadly piranhas from 2011 to 2012, according to a U.S. Department of Justice statement. The federal Lacey Act combats trafficking in "illegal" wildlife, fish and plants.

In a plea agreement, Rakower admitted that his company purchased piranhas from a Hong Kong tropical fish supplier and imported them to the city, according to the statement.

Rakower instructed the foreign supplier to falsely label the exotic fish on packing lists as silver tetras, a common and unaggressive aquarium fish, because New York City prohibited the possession of piranhas, the statement said.

Rakower smuggled 39,548 piranhas over the course of 2011 and 2012, swimming up costs of approximately $37,376, according to the statement.

Piranhas, freshwater fish originating in South American rivers, are described as extremely aggressive and territorial. As a result, 25 states have either banned or regulated piranhas, making them illegal to own or sell.

Rakower was "driven by greed and without regard for the health and safety of people or the environment," said Queens District Attorney Richard Brown, who helped investigate the case.

Rakower agreed to pay more than $70,000 in fines and restitution, and his company will serve a two-year period of probation. Rakower will be sentenced on April 24.
 

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Heiko Bleher Arrested for Fish Smuggling
From Microcosm Aquarium Explorer

Renowned for discovering thousands of tropical fish species, including many that have become mainstays in the freshwater aquarium world, swashbuckling ichthyologist Heiko Bleher was arrested in Manaus recently by Brazilian authorities and charged with smuggling fish specimens.
When bottles containing a reported 10 preserved fish, believed to include a number of previously unknown species, were found in his luggage, Bleher, 64, was seized by the Brazilian Polícia Federal (PF) while trying to embark for a flight to Milan from Eduardo Gomes Airport with his companion, photographer Natasha Khardina, 29, of Uzbekistan. (Khardina was recently honored with the naming of a new tetra species, Hyphessobrycon khardinae.)
The police said that the pair did not have official authorization for the capture and export of animals. They also claimed that Bleher's documentation included only permission for taking photography from the Brazilian Institute of the Environment (IBAMA).
According to Brazilian press reports, Bleher and Khardina were charged with two crimes: transport without authorization of Brazilian species (Law 9605/98 of Ambient Crimes) and contraband and embezzlement. Bleher was jailed, in what has been reported as despicable conditions.
According to a report by the British periodical Practical Fishkeeping, which publishes a column by Bleher, he had been under investigation by the Brazilians for more than a year in apparent preparation for the arrest.
A Crusader Stung
Bleher's defenders were quick to point out that he had likely been targeted by Brazilian authorities for having spoken out on numerous occasions about the country's plans to allow rainforest cutting and deforestation that would lead to massive loss of biodiversity.
Heiko Bleher publishes books and online information under the Aquapress imprint and is credited with bringing many fish species to the attention both of the ichthyological community and aquarium keepers.
According to his biography on Aquapress:
"Over the years, generally alone, Heiko penetrated jungles in all South and Central American countries. He also travelled to the Amazon area as many as 10 times a year in search of discus and others species.
"In the 1970s he expanded his operations to include Africa, Asia and Oceania (Australia, New Guinea, etc.) and began to give lectures around the world. He made his first Discus-TV film, Expeditionsziel Aquarienfische with the German ZDF and made many TV appearances in different countries.
His first discus book was published in 1982 and re-printed 10 times. Since then he has published articles on discus in magazines around the world. His first documentary film The Wimpel Piranh was made In 1983, followed by films on freshwater fishes in New Guinea, Australia, Central America and Brazil then four films on discus in the 90s.
Until 1997 from Frankfurt he supplied wholesalers world-wide with new species, including new discus variants every year, mostly from his own discoveries. Between 1965 and 1997, besides introducing most of the wild discus variants into the hobby—directly or by means of the breeders—he introduced more than 4,000 aquarium fish species he had discovered (or re-discovered).
This includes the variants such as “blue-headed Heckel,” “Alenquer,” “Red-spotted greens” from the Coar and Japurá regions, the famous Rio Içá discus, and also rainbowfishes such as Melanotaenia boesemani, M. lacustris and M. praecox (most probably now one of the most-sold aquarium fishes), angels such as Pterophyllum altum, dwarfs such as Nanochromis nudiceps, and Steatocranus bleheri or Channa bleheri.
Among other fishes attributable to Heiko’s explorations are also many loricariids (as many as 800), new Corydoras species, almost countless tetras and dwarf cichlids from West Africa and South America, knife fishes, puffers and flounders. One of his best-known discoveries was the first freshwater sawfish known, in 1982, in a remote northern Australian lake."
Warning to Biologists
Practical Fishkeeping's report included a statement that should give pause to other fish researchers interested in Brazil:
"According to environmental analyst James Bessa, the specimens seized have been sent to INPA, the National Institute for Research of the Amazon, to be identified.
"Bessa said that the material Bleher was attempting to export were collected this month in the Rio Araca, Rio Demini, Rio Jutai, Rio Negro and upper Solimoes and believed that some of the fish are currently unknown to science.
"Bessa said that IBAMA was awaiting the outcome of a report investigating the transportation of wildlife material without a license and attempting to leave the country with unapproved genetic material.
"He warned foreign researchers that they needed to obtain a licence from the National Research Council (CNPQ) of the Ministry of Science and Technology in order to export material."
International Misadventure?
"Heiko has a world-class ego, but he certainly is not guilty of pilfering Brazil's biological treasures," said a colleague who asked to remain anonymous while Bleher was incarcerated.
"He has done business and research in that country for years, and there is much more to this misadventure than him simply getting caught smuggling. If it was meant to stifle his advocacy for the Brazilian rainforests, it was a pretty heavyhanded act of political intimidation that the aquarium community should see for what it is."
 

jonah h2o

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ive seen people selling them in san diego
 
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