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Case Number: 6:19-cr-00503-MC
Judge: Michael J. McShane
Court: United States District Court for the District of Oregon (Lane County)
Plaintiff's Attorney: Pamela Paaso
Call 918-582-6422 for help finding a criminal defense lawyer for a conspiracy to smuggle goods from the United States.
Description: Eugene, OR - The United States of America charged Xiao Dong Qin with conspiracy to smuggle endangered turtles from the United States.
A Chinese national pleaded guilty today for directing a scheme whereby hundreds of endangered and vulnerable turtles were purchased in the U.S. and smuggled via U.S. mail and commercial airline flights to China.
Xiao Dong Qin, 34, a resident of Shanghai, China, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to smuggle goods from the U.S.
According to court documents, beginning in at least May 2017 and continuing until June 2018, Qin directed an unindicted co-conspirator in Eugene to purchase more than 300 live turtles from reptile dealers in Alabama, California, Florida, Kentucky, Michigan, New Jersey, Nevada, North Carolina, and South Carolina. All of the turtles purchased and smuggled by Qin are protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.
A two-year investigation by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) revealed that in a 13-month period, Qin facilitated the purchase and transportation of approximately 136 Florida box turtles, 76 eastern box turtles, 57 North American wood turtles, 20 spotted turtles, 18 diamondback terrapins, seven yellow-blotched map turtles, and one Blanding’s turtle. USFWS investigators determined the market value of the turtles involved in this investigation exceeded $250,000 in the Chinese pet trade.
In February 2019, Qin was arrested at the Los Angeles International Airport by USFWS agents when he arrived from Shanghai.
Qin faces a maximum sentence of ten years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release. He will be sentenced on February 27, 2020 before U.S. District Court Judge Michael J. McShane.
As part of the plea agreement, Qin has agreed to pay nearly $8,000 in restitution to rehabilitation facilities near Chicago and San Antonio; and The Turtle Conservancy near Los Angeles for costs associated with the care of turtles intercepted by law enforcement.
This case was investigated by USFWS with assistance from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. It is being prosecuted by Pamela Paaso, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.
Outcome: 11/26/2019 29 Waiver of Indictment by Xiao Dong Qin (cp) (Entered: 11/27/2019)
11/26/2019 30 Minutes of Proceedings: Entry of Plea Hearing before Judge Michael J. McShane for Defendant Xiao Dong Qin. Waiver of Indictment, Plea Agreement and Plea Petition filed with the Court. Guilty plea entered as to count 1. Presentence Report ordered. Sentencing is set for 2/27/2020 at 01:00PM in Eugene Courtroom 2 before Judge Michael J. McShane. Counsel Present for Plaintiff: Pamela Paaso. Counsel Present for Defendant: Rosalind M. Lee. (USPO Present: Ashley Wong) (Court Reporter Deborah Cook) (cp) (Entered: 11/27/2019)
11/26/2019 31 Plea Agreement as to Xiao Dong Qin (cp) (Entered: 11/27/2019)
11/26/2019 32 Plea Petition and Order Entering Plea as to Defendant Xiao Dong Qin. Signed on 11/26/2019 by Judge Michael J. McShane. (cp) (Entered: 11/27/2019)