Tuesday, August 14, 2007

U.S. Fish & Wildlife agents target smugglers online

Although this press release doesn't mention birds, I don't doubt that wildlife smugglers include wild-caught birds among their products. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service employees now work online to catch the criminals.


It’s true, said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Special Agent Ed Newcomer, that the internet has made wildlife crime easier, and easier to hide. But it’s also made it easier for wildlife law enforcement agents to pose as potential customers – and to catch people.

“What works for criminals also works for us,” said Newcomer. “The internet provides anonymity for everyone, and when we go online, the people we’re after have no idea who we are.”

...

Newcomer thrives on the challenge; he relishes telling the story about how he and his colleagues nabbed a man in Los Angeles not long ago who billed himself as “the world’s most wanted butterfly smuggler.” He sold Newcomer $14,000 worth of protected butterflies and would have sold him $300,000 worth, if Newcomer had had the cash. The smuggler is spending two years in a federal prison.

Read more here.

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