News Release: Associated Press News
KEY WEST, Fla. (AP) -- A Michigan man has been sentenced to five months in prison for his role in a South Florida wildlife trafficking operation that included the poaching of baby alligators.
U.S. District Judge Jose Martinez in Key West also ordered 35-year-old Joseph Franko to serve five months of home confinement after his prison release. Franko pleaded guilty to wildlife trafficking offenses involving alligators, tropical fish and sea fans.
Authorities say Franko and 80-year-old Richard Perrin conspired to import the wildlife from Florida to a business in Romulus, Mich., called Tropicorium that sells marine life and reptiles. Perrin was previously sentenced to three years of probation and fined $15,000.
On one occasion, the two men sold a baby alligator and illegally taken sea fans to an undercover U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agent.
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