Man Sentenced For W.Va. Turtle Trafficking

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

Martinsburg, W.Va. (AP) -- A Florida reptile dealer has been sentenced to one year of home confinement over a plot to smuggle more than 100 turtles out of West Virginia for sale elsewhere.

Michael Ellard of Estero, Fla., was sentenced Thursday in U.S. District Court in Martinsburg.

Along with two others, Ellard pleaded guilty to violations of the Lacey Act, which prohibits trade in wildlife that have been illegally obtained.

The three were arrested traveling to Florida from West Virginia with 108 wood turtles, four eastern box turtles and six snapping turtles.

One of the others involved, Kelly Stoops II, was sentenced in august to five months in federal prison.

The third man, Eric Diana, is awaiting sentencing.

Along with home confinement, Ellard will pay $12,000 in restitution.

(Copyright 2009 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.)


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  • by realize on Dec 11, 2009 at 08:06 AM
    Turtles can live 40 years and if they are moved from their home areas they will spend the rest of their lives and every waking moment looking for their home. So for the 108 turtles this is the most cruel thing that they could endure, as for the scum that think they can just come here, steal them, and profit, well we showed you! Remember while you're sitting cozy in your home, they are still wandering around looking for theirs. Some people may not think the turtles are worth worrying about, but consider that without laws and enforcement, anyone could just runaround doing anything they wanted at any consequence to anyone around them. Seems you Maryann, have missed the point. All creatures are capable of carrying and spreading disease. Remember that our native americans were nearly 90% extinguished from the deseases Europeans brought over with them. Moving animals, bugs, plants, fruit means you are moving the bugs, bacteria, disease with them. Its not nice to fool with mother nature!
  • by Phillip Location: Davisville, Wood County on Dec 11, 2009 at 02:15 AM
    The Box and Wood Turtles... turn the little guys loose. The Snapppers should be required to stay in home confinement with him. And no chocolate turtles for 3 years! This looks like a Division of Natural Resources Fish and Wildlife Div. matter, although Maryann, you have my complete agreement.
  • by Maryann Location: Parkerkersburg,WV on Dec 10, 2009 at 05:47 PM
    I think this is the most obsurd thing ever ! I think the police shud be worried about the woman & children being trafficked .. Not TURTLES !
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