BRUNSWICK — Lewis Jackson Sr., 58, of Brunswick, pled guilty Wednesday to acquiring loggerhead sea turtle eggs in violation of the Lacey Act.
Among other things, the Lacey Act makes it unlawful for any person to acquire, receive and transport loggerhead sea-turtle eggs, as loggerheads are endangered species under federal law.
According to evidence presented during the plea hearing, in May 2012, Jackson took more than 150 eggs from nests on Sapelo Island. When seized from Jackson, the eggs were packaged in a manner indicating they would be sold to others. Loggerhead eggs fetch as much as $15 per egg on the black market.
“Loggerhead sea turtles are a national treasure that must be protected from plunder for our enjoyment and that of future generations,” U.S. Attorney Edward Tarver said.
“This case is an excellent example of the cooperative investigative efforts between the Georgia Department of Natural Resource Division of Law Enforcement, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement, and each agencies commitment to investigate and interdict the commercialization of endangered and other protected wildlife species,” said Edward Grace, deputy chief of law enforcement, headquarters, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “We take very seriously our mission to support our state counterpart wildlife enforcement agencies, and we will continue to concentrate on and aggressively pursue individuals who are involved in the illegal trade of protected species of wildlife.”
Jackson faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison, and a fine of up to $250,000. The date for Jackson’s sentencing hearing has not yet been scheduled.
Assistant U.S. Attorney E. Greg Gilluly Jr. is prosecuting the case for the United States.
For additional information, call 912-201-2547.