FWC shuts down illegal Internet operation
Monday, August 16, 2010
Media contact: Katie Purcell, 850-459-6585
When the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation
Commission's (FWC) Internet Crimes Unit received a citizen's
complaint that a Tampa man was operating an illegal wildlife
business through eBay, it launched an undercover investigation that
resulted in the man's arrest.
"After looking into his online activity,
investigators found he was selling protected freshwater game fish,
mussels and oysters," said Col. Jim Brown, director of the FWC's
Division of Law Enforcement. "He had no licenses to sell freshwater
or saltwater products."
The man listed 47 pages of items for sale on eBay,
including protected species of fish and wildlife. Now he's facing
four misdemeanor charges for unlawful sale of freshwater game fish,
unlawful sale of freshwater mussels, and for not possessing a
freshwater fish dealer's license and a saltwater retail dealer's
license. He also received a written warning for unlawful sale of
In a technologically advanced society, online
businesses that deal in the wildlife trade are an increasing
concern for Florida's law enforcement agencies. It requires
Internet monitoring to protect Florida's natural resources from
Fortunately, the FWC's Internet Crimes Unit has had
tremendous success at shutting down operations like this one. It is
actively working to protect the state by tracking down Internet
crimes at their source.
"The Internet Crimes Unit uses investigative
measures that supplement traditional face-to-face efforts," Brown
said. "These online methods are effective in enhancing public
safety, continuing conservation efforts, combating invasive species
and ensuring fair business practices."
The public also can help the FWC in its
conservation endeavors. To report wildlife law violations, visit
MyFWC.com/Violation or call 888-404-FWCC (3922).