Fort Mill TimesSaturday, February 28, 2009 Ga. man fined for wildlife violations(Published February 25, 2009)ATLANTA — A Georgia man has been fined $15,000 for possession of a snow leopard carcass and 45 skulls of endangered or protected animals in violation of federal wildlife laws.Federal prosecutors say 49-year-old Toru Shimoji of Smyrna purchased the leopard carcass on the Internet from an undercover agent of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. U.S. Attorney David Nahmias said that in a search of Shimoji’s home agents discovered illegal skulls of birds in his private collection. U.S. Magistrate Judge E. Clayton Scofield III also ordered Shimoji on Tuesday to serve two years probation and forfeit all the wildlife seized from his collection.
Ga Man Sentenced for Possession of Wildlife Skulls
02-26-2009Toru Shimoji, 49, of Smyrna, was sentenced this week on multiple misdemeanor charges involving the illegal possession of wildlife skulls, a violation of the Endangered Species Act, the Lacey Act, and the Migratory Bird Act. Shimoji was fined $15,000, and was placed on probation for two years, and he had to forfeit all wildlife seized. United States Attorney David E. Nahmias said, `This defendant was a collector and had acquired a number of illegal skulls of birds and the carcass of a snow leopard, all of which are endangered and therefore protected by federal wildlife law. Unfortunately there continues to be a market for such illegal activity and collectors should be on notice that they take a chance on being convicted on federal charges. We continue working with U.S. Fish and Wildlife officers and will continue to bring federal cases where appropriate to stop these violations of laws to protect endangered and rare animals.` According to United States Attorney Nahmias and the information presented in court: In December 2007, SHIMOJI purchased over the internet and received in interstate commerce the carcass of an endangered snow leopard, a violation of the Lacey Act and the Endangered Species Act. The “seller” was in fact a United States Fish & Wildlife Service Special Agent working in an undercover capacity. Less than one week later, a search warrant was executed at SHIMOJI`s home in Smyrna, where agents discovered over 45 skulls of endangered and other protected animals in his private collection. The Lacey Act, enacted in 1900, is the first national wildlife law, and was passed to assist states in enforcing wildlife laws. It provides additional protection to fish, wildlife, and plants that were taken, possessed, transported or sold in violation of state, tribal, foreign, or U.S. law. The Endangered Species Act, enacted in 1973, provides protection to fish, wildlife, and plants listed as endangered or threatened and identify critical habitat. Unless permitted by regulation, it is unlawful to import, export, take, take, sell, purchase, or receive, in interstate or foreign commerce any species listed as endangered or threatened. This case was investigated by Special Agents of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement. Assistance in this case was provided by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Division of Law Enforcement.
Smyrna man fined $15,000 for wildlife violation
He bought snow leopard carcass, other endangered animal skulls
By MIKE MORRISThe Atlanta Journal-ConstitutionWednesday, February 25, 2009A Smyrna man with an unusual hobby of collecting the skulls of endangered birds was sentenced in federal court Tuesday on multiple misdemeanor charges.Toru Shimoji, 49, also had bought a snow leopard carcass, authorities said.He was ordered to pay a $15,000 fine and was placed on probation for two years, said a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Atlanta.“This defendant was a collector and had acquired a number of illegal skulls of birds and the carcass of a snow leopard, all of which are endangered and therefore protected by federal wildlife law,” U.S. Attorney David E. Nahmias said in a press release.“Unfortunately, there continues to be a market for such illegeal activity and collectors should be on notice that they take a chance on being convicted on federal charges,” Nahmias said.Nahmias said that in December, 2007, Shimoji purchased the leopard carcass from an undercover U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service special agent. Less than a week later, during a search of Shimoji’s Smyrna home, agents discovered over 45 skulls of endangered and other protected animals in his private collection, Nahmias said.http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/metro/cobb/stories/2009/02/25/smyrna_leopard_wildlife_violation.html