Couple Pleads Guilty To Selling Jaguar Skins In Florida

WPBF.COM

MIAMI — A Texas couple has pleaded guilty in federal court to selling the skins of an endangered species to undercover federal wildlife agents in South Florida.Federal prosecutors in Miami announced Tuesday the guilty pleas of Elias Garcia and Maria Plancarte, both 53.According to the indictment, Garcia and Plancarte made repeated trips to South Florida to sell jaguar skins to customers of their plant seed company.Prosecutors said the couple admitted to selling jaguar skins to undercover U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agents in Homestead for $4,000. Prosecutors said they also sold two jaguar pelts to undercover agents in Texas.During both sales, the couple promised to sell up to 10 more jaguar skins that they would smuggle into the United States from Mexico.Jaguars are protected under the federal Endangered Species Act, and the Lacey Act prohibits the transport, sale or purchase of any protected species.Garcia and Plancarte each face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine when they are sentenced in March.

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