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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