Assistant U.S. Attorneys Aaron J. Mango and Mary Ellen Kresse, who are handling the case, stated that on November 15, 2008, the defendant attempted to enter the United States at the Peace Bridge Port of Entry with 11 Asian arowana fish, knowing that the importation of such fish is against the law. These fish are listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act which prohibits the importation and transportation of protected species in interstate and foreign commerce in the course of a commercial activity. The fish were discovered by officers with U.S. Customs and Border Protection during an inspection of the car. The defendant had purchased the fish the day before. The total fair market value of the 11 Asian arowana fish was approximately $18,000.
The plea is the culmination of an investigation on the part of Special Agents of the United States Department of Fish & Wildlife, under the direction of Special Agent-In-Charge Sal Amato.
Sentencing is scheduled for November 9, 2011 at 9:00 a.m. in Buffalo, N.Y., before Judge Skretny.