[PCA] ARTICLE: Catching Cactus Crooks - The FWS and partners target black market smuggling that serves unethical overseas collectors

De Angelis, Patricia patricia_deangelis at fws.gov
Wed Jun 24 15:14:43 CDT 2020

By Al Barrus
Fish and Wildlife News, Spring 2020

When someone mentions smuggling and the Southwest, cacti probably don’t pop to mind. However, the black market cactus trade is a problem, and the Service and partners are on it. After years of investigation, four cactus traffickers were sentenced last fall for their role in the illegal harvest, sale and/or transportation of living rock, a spineless cactus found only in the Big Bend region of southwestern Texas and northeastern Mexico.

The defendants were sentenced to a total of nine years of probation and one year of unsupervised probation. They also were ordered to pay $118,804 in fines and restitution, and forfeit 17 firearms. There are more defendants in the ongoing case.

Service special agents, Homeland Security Investigations, the U.S. Department of Justice Environmental Crimes Unit, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the National Park Service, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and Sul Ross State University are collaborating on the years-long effort to stop the illegal harvest of living rock cactus.

Read the full story (p. 36): https://www.fws.gov/home/fwn/pdf/News-Spring%202020-web.pdf?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery

(Note - there is a slight typo in the Table of Contents that is being addressed by the Editor.)

You may subscribe to receive the "Fish & Wildlife News" newsletter at: https://www.fws.gov/home/fwn/

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