Billions upon billions of dollars worth of contraband are smuggled around the world every single year. Being one of the largest cities and areas in the world, New York City is a prime destination for illegal goods.

But it's not always narcotics and weapons that are being snuck into airports and over borders. In some cases, rare and endangered plant and animal species can fetch big dollars through the black market.

Prosecutors Say New York Man Smuggled Thousands of Dollars Worth of Rare Insects Into Country 

ABC says that Birdwing butterflies are some of the biggest and most rare butterflies on Earth. They are not native to the United States, and mostly found in rain forest areas in Southeast Asia and Australia.

However, one New York state man allegedly smuggled Birdwings and thousands of other insects into the country, and then sold them online for tens of thousands of dollars, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Fox 5 NY says the 75-year-old suspect is now facing up to 20 years in prison.

See Also: Feds Say New York Man Tried to Smuggle Snakes in His Pants Over Canadian Border

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Brooklyn said in a press release that the suspect from Long Island allegedly trafficked numerous deceased specimens of protected butterflies commonly referred to as “birdwings” due to their exceptional size, angular wings and bird-like flight.

Federal prosecutors charged the man with allegedly smuggling over $200,000 worth of insects in and out of the country "through online retailers like eBay and Etsy", says Fox. the indictment says that the suspect has issue with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.

Fox reports the suspect even said "Screw USFWS… They are a gang of Orangutans."

New York DEC Forest Ranger Rescues Fall 2023

Below are some of the recent heroics made by forest rangers, along with awesome accounts of training and programs offered to ensure safety and conservation.

Gallery Credit: Conor Walsh