TODAY’S GENIUS AWARD GOES TO……
Valdosta, GA — A Florida man has admitted that he illegally shipped turtles and venomous snakes from his home in South Georgia. Ashtyn Michael Rance of Miami on Thursday pleaded guilty to one count of wildlife trafficking and one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, federal prosecutors said in a news release.
35-year-old Rance accepted $3,300 to ship three eastern box turtles and sixteen spotted turtles from his home in Valdosta to a customer in Florida, knowing that they would ultimately be shipped to China. He also agreed to send a package of 15 Gaboon vipers from Valdosta to Florida. The label on the box said it contained “harmless reptiles” and ball pythons, when it really contained venomous snakes.
The federal Lacey Act prohibits transporting wildlife between states if the wildlife is illegal under state laws, and also prohibits falsely labeling a package containing wildlife. Rance is set to be sentenced February 23rd in Valdosta. He faces up to five years in prison on the wildlife trafficking charge and up to 10 years on the gun charge, as well as a $250,000 fine for each charge.