34 Charges Laid in Multi-Agency Investigation Into Illegal Trade of Endangered Species
A total of 34 charges have been laid against three Ontario residents for alleged violations of the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act (WAPPRIITA), the Ontario Endangered Species Act, 2007, the Ontario Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1997, and the Canada Customs Act.
The charges stem from an investigation originally begun by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, dubbed "Operation Shellshock," into the illegal trade in protected reptiles and amphibians in and around New York State. The investigation was conducted in cooperation with Environment Canada, Canada Border Services Agency, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Environment Canada's Wildlife Enforcement Officers laid six charges against two Ontario residents regarding cross-border trade in timber rattlesnakes. Ontario's Ministry of Natural Resources laid 26 charges against three Ontario residents alleging illegal capture, possession and sale of Eastern Massasauga rattlesnakes and a spotted turtle taken from the wild. Canada Border Services Agency laid one charge of attempt to smuggle and one charge of false statements under the Customs Act against one of the Ontario residents. This case is currently before the courts in Ontario. Media Desk, Communications Services Branch, 416-314-2106 Environment Canada, Media Relations (819) 934-8008 or 1-888-908-8008 www.ec.gc.ca Canada Border Services Agency, Jean D'Amelio Swyer (905) 354-2011 www.cbsa.gc.ca