New Jersey man gets probation for smuggling more than 1000 Oklahoma turtles

Collaborator: Brittany Harlow
Published: 01/30/2020, 8:09 AM
Edited: 03/11/2021, 10:22 AM
(TULSA, Okla.) A New Jersey man has been sentenced to two years’ probation after being found guilty of conspiring with others to purchase, transport and sell more than 1,000 box turtles that were unlawfully collected in Oklahoma. Chief U.S. District Judge John E. Dowdell also ordered William T. Gangemi, 27, of Freehold, New Jersey, to pay $250,000 in restitution to the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation and a $100,000 fine to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “Gangemi was part of a syndicate of wildlife smugglers that exchanged three-toed and western box turtles back and forth between the United States and China. I can’t say that I ever expected we’d be announcing a turtle smuggling prosecution, but I’ve learned just how prevalent this criminal enterprise is globally and the detrimental impact it has on our wildlife population in Oklahoma, not just today but for future generations,” U.S. Attorney Trent Shores said earlier this week. “I’m proud of this case and the result it achieved to better protect Oklahoma wildlife. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service teamed up with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation to investigate this case from Oklahoma to New Jersey. Their hard work is to be commended.” We’re told Gangemi helped sell and move three-toed and western (ornate) box turtles from Oklahoma to New Jersey from May 2017 to May 2018. “This case is an excellent example of how state and federal law enforcement agencies work together to combat the illegal wildlife trade," said Phillip Land, a Special Agent in Charge for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "We will vigorously investigate wildlife crime in Oklahoma and in our great nation to hold traffickers accountable and protect imperiled species for future generations. We would like to thank the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation and the U. S. Attorney's Office for their assistance with this case."


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