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Man admits he conspired to traffic threatened turtle species

Published:Wednesday | July 1, 2015 | 12:00 AM


A New Jersey man has admitted he kept turtles considered threatened under state law at his home and shipped them to buyers by tying the animals live in tube socks and packing them in boxes.

Federal prosecutors say 48-year-old Patrick Elfers of Jersey City pleaded guilty yesterday to conspiring to traffic the threatened species. He faces up to five years in prison at his September 29 sentencing.

Elfers admitted that from December 2011 through March 2014, he had various species, including spotted turtles, North American wood turtles and Eastern box turtles without the required permit.

He advertised on wildlife trade websites and shipped turtles to buyers in New York state by tying them to restrict their movements and putting them in boxes unsuitable for the shipment of live animals.