New York Resident Bust For Illegally Owning Sick Turtles, DEC
DEC officers went undercover after learning someone was allegedly illegally possessing turtles and illegally trying to sell the sick pets.
The turtles were found with life-threatening infections.
Painted Turtles for Sale - Nassau County
Recently, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation discovered an online ad offering painted turtles for sale in Hempstead, New York. ECO Pabes posed as an interested customer and contacted the seller who offered five painted turtles for $200, according to the DEC.
"While not endangered, the turtles are native wildlife and selling or keeping them as pets is illegal," the DEC states.
DEC Seizes Illegal Turtles in Hempstead, New York
Environmental Conservation Investigators (ECIs) Eastwood, Farrish, and Grady, along with ECOs Kochanowski and Pabes, organized a "buy/bust" for the turtles at a Hempstead parking lot. Posing as a customer, ECI Grady met with the seller as ECIs Eastwood and Farrish stood by in an undercover vehicle.
ECOs Kochanowski and Pabes intercepted the transaction, seized the turtles, and ticketed the seller for illegal possession or sale of protected wildlife, returnable to Nassau First District Court.
Turtles Seized on Long Island Found With Life-threatening Fungal Infections
The officers then turned the turtles over to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator who later diagnosed two of them with life-threatening fungal infections.
Thankfully, the sick turtles are expected to make a full recovery, according to the DEC.
In 2021, 282 Environmental Conservation Police Officers (ECOs) and Investigators across the state responded to 26,207 calls and worked on cases that resulted in 11,562 tickets or arrests for crimes ranging from deer poaching to solid waste dumping, illegal mining, the black market pet trade, and excessive emissions violations. Some of these incidents result in injuries or property damage.