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Game Officials Bust International Alligator Gar Smugglers

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June 21, 2011
Game Officials Bust International Alligator Gar Smugglers - 5

In what is reportedly the first case of its kind on record, a federal grand jury has indicted three men for allegedly conspiring to smuggle live alligator gar caught from the Trinity River in Southeast Texas to a client in Tokyo, Japan.

Loren Willis, 62, of Eminence, IN, Gerard Longo, 46, of Greenacres, FL, and Michael Rambarran, 55, of Miami, were charged Wednesday in Beaumont, TX Federal Court with Lacey Act violations, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The Houston Chronicle reports that two Tokyo dealers paid the men $15,000 to procure the four alligator gar, examples of the largest freshwater species in North America. Each measured about four feet in length—though the fish can grow longer than 10 feet in the wild.
Live American alligator gar in the eight-foot range have been known to fetch as much as $40,000 in Japan, where executives often display exotic fish species in huge office aquariums.

According to investigating U.S. Fish and Wildlife agent Jim Stinebaugh, Willis and Longo accompanied the Japanese dealers to the Trinity River in late 2010, where the fish were caught. They unsuccessfully attempted to ship the live fish from George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston but were stopped because they could not produce the necessary documentation.

Investigators allege the pair then used a van equipped with tanks to transport the fish to West Palm Beach, FL, where they were kept in a swimming pool until arrangements were made with Ornamental Fish Distributors Inc., owned by Rambarran, to ship them to Japan. Documentation provided by the importer falsely listed the fish as farm-raised and not wild or as originating from Texas.

In addition to the Lacey Act violations, the three are charged with conspiracy to submit a false label for fish transported in interstate commerce, conspiracy to transport fish in interstate commerce in violation of state law or regulation, and conspiracy to transport and sell fish in interstate commerce in violation of state law or regulation. 

If convicted, they each face up to five years in federal prison and a fine of up to $25,000.

Comments (5)

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from purplehead wrote 3 years 5 days ago

I use "Pearl Harbor" as a coverall for all Japanese atrosities. Wasn't Japan an ally to the Nazis?

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from Newyorkflyangler wrote 3 years 6 days ago

Forget about Pearl Harbor.

The half a million people their Unit 731 killed during the Second Sino-Japanese War and WW2 though experimentation and biological weapons is a better reason to hate them.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unit_731

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from purplehead wrote 3 years 6 days ago

Why is it rcist to mistrust your enemies?

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from Steve_In_Heber wrote 3 years 3 weeks ago

Purplehead, that is a pretty racist comment.

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from purplehead wrote 3 years 4 weeks ago

Remember Pearl Harbor. I will never trust Japanese. If it's not PC then call me whatever you want.

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from Newyorkflyangler wrote 3 years 6 days ago

Forget about Pearl Harbor.

The half a million people their Unit 731 killed during the Second Sino-Japanese War and WW2 though experimentation and biological weapons is a better reason to hate them.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unit_731

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from purplehead wrote 3 years 6 days ago

Why is it rcist to mistrust your enemies?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from purplehead wrote 3 years 5 days ago

I use "Pearl Harbor" as a coverall for all Japanese atrosities. Wasn't Japan an ally to the Nazis?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from purplehead wrote 3 years 4 weeks ago

Remember Pearl Harbor. I will never trust Japanese. If it's not PC then call me whatever you want.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Steve_In_Heber wrote 3 years 3 weeks ago

Purplehead, that is a pretty racist comment.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment (200 characters or less)