A New Jersey man has admitted to placing rare turtles inside tube socks, which were then placed inside boxes, which were then shipped to others interested in owning endangered turtles and a free pair of tube socks.
Patrick Elfers, 48, pleaded guilty Tuesday for conspiring to traffic a threatened species, which is a formal way of saying that he tried to stuff a bunch of turtles inside some tube socks and put them in the mail. The turtles were alive at the time they were placed in the socks, but presumably would have been significantly less alive by the time they reached their destinations. According to the Department of Justice, the boxes were "neither designed nor appropriate for the shipment of live animals," so it seems air holes were not an aspect of his otherwise elaborate packaging scheme.
Between December 2011 and March 2014, Elfers admitted to keeping several varieties of turtles in his Jersey City home, including spotted turtles, North American wood turtles, and Eastern box turtles. Though Elfers had many turtles, he did not have any permits authorizing his ownership of the turtles. He plead guilty to the charges, and will be sentenced in September. As part of his plea agreement, he has been forced to give up all of the turtles in his possession. He gets to keep the socks!