AR-News: (US) mitten crab smuggling
Barry Kent MacKay
mimus at sympatico.ca
Wed Jul 23 12:22:18 EDT 2003
New York Fish Importer Sentenced to Prison for Illegally Importing Mitten
7/22/03 1:53:00 PM
To: City Desk
Contact: Resident Agent in Charge William Donato of the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service, 516-825-3950 ext. 231
BROOKLYN, N.Y., July 22 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Fuyi Ge, a former fish importer
from Flushing, N.Y., was sentenced July 17 in federal court in Brooklyn to a
prison term and fines for violating the federal Lacey Act by smuggling
mitten crabs from Asia into the United States, said Special Agent in Charge
Thomas J. Healy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Northeast Region.
The court sentenced Ge to three months in prison, three months home
detention, and three years probation, as well as more than $3,000 in fines,
for his violation, said Healy.
The mitten crab is a food delicacy in Asian countries, commanding a retail
cost of $40 a pound, he said.
Mitten crabs are extremely destructive to the environment. Crabs imported
directly from Asia are likely to carry the Asian lung fluke, a parasite
which when ingested can cause tuberculosis and influenza-like symptoms in
people, said Healy.
Mitten crabs may also pose an economic and ecological risk if a live
population becomes established. The crabs could jeopardize fisheries by
eating fish and damaging fishing nets, increase erosion and flooding by
burrowing into shoreline levies, and threaten native wildlife populations
through predation and competition.
The importation of live mitten crabs or their eggs is strictly prohibited
under the Lacey Act, the federal law regulating the importation,
transportation or acquisition of animals that potentially pose a risk to the
health and welfare of people or wildlife, or that could be damaging to
agriculture, horticulture and forestry. The Service designated the mitten
crab as injurious under the Act in 1989.
In November 2001, Service wildlife inspectors acting on a tip intercepted 10
cartons at JFK International Airport containing more than 1,300 live mitten
crabs among a 70-carton shipment imported by Ge. Invoices indicated that the
entire shipment contained live fish, not crabs. It was discovered that this
was Ge's fourth shipment of mitten crabs.
Special agents with the Service executed a federal search warrant at Ge's
home in December 2001, obtaining documents verifying that he had illegally
imported through JFK International four mitten crab shipments with an
estimated weight of 780 pounds and a retail value of $32,000.
Ge was arrested in July 2002 and was later indicted by a federal grand jury
in Brooklyn on two felony counts for smuggling and making false statements
to Service special agents. He pleaded guilty on April 23, 2003, to one
felony count of smuggling live mitten crabs into the country in violation of
the Lacey Act.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Lipton of the
Eastern District of New York.
Editors: Digital photos are available online at
Barry Kent MacKay
Animal Protection Institute: Canadian Office
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