A Queens turtle collector has confessed to smuggling dozens of tiny, adorable, endangered turtles through the international mail facility at JFK, having hidden the turtles in packages labeled "snacks." At least they weren't in socks?
Hsien Lin Hsu, 46, pleaded guilty in Brooklyn's Federal District Court to the illegal importation of wildlife. Back in May, customs agents at JFK found over 51 protected turtles in packages addressed to Hsu at the Kennedy Airport mail facility—the turtles were hidden underneath bags of noodles and candy.
When customs agents found the wiggly little guys—which, according to the Times, included Indian roofed turtles, four Chinese big-headed turtles, yellow-margined Chinese box turtles and black-breasted turtles—they raided Hsu's home in Oakland Gardens and found 135 more turtles, including stinkpots, cooters, and loggerhead musks. Prosecutors suspect those turtles were also smuggled into New York in bags of candy labeled "snacks."
According to court papers, Hsu, a Chinese citizen told agents he had been working with turtle suppliers in Hong Kong to bring the turtles to the States and was aware he was committing a crime. He faces up to 21 years in prison and deportation for the illegal importation of wildlife.
Hsu's attorney, John Wallenstein, told the Daily News his client was a turtle collector and breeder, but "unfortunately, he ran afoul of the law and here we are."