Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Venezuelan man charged in Miami with fish and coral smuggling

By Zachary Fagenson

MIAMI (Reuters) - A Venezuelan man charged with smuggling more than 100 specimens of fish and live coral out of the United States in his luggage faces five years in prison and a $250,000 fine after he was arrested trying to board a plane from Miami to Caracas in May.

Oscar Cordova-Cobian, 42, pleaded not guilty in a Miami federal court on Monday to a charge of exporting 136 protected marine species.

At the time of his arrest, Cordova-Cobian told U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials he had more than 300 clients in Venezuela who buy coral, fish and other ocean wildlife "for twice the amount paid in the U.S. plus a 20 per cent charge to cover his transportation costs," according to court documents.

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