A Eugene man was fined and sentenced to two years of probation in federal court Wednesday for illegally importing and exporting hundreds live scorpions to and from Germany and within the U.S. without obtaining a license for it.
The defendant, Darren Dennis Drake, 39, had mailed and received several hundred live scorpions from U.S. states, including from Michigan and Texas, and dozens to and from contacts in Germany, according to the U.S. Department of Justice on Wednesday.
Along with probation, Drake received 250 hours of community service and a $5,000 fine payable to the Lacey Act Reward Fund. The Lacey Act, created in 1900, is a law that bans trafficking in fish, wildlife or plants that are illegally transported.
According to the DOJ, Drake was sending and receiving dozens of scorpions from Germany between Sept. 4, 2017, and March 21, 2018, without a license from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. On one parcel intercepted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Drake labeled the package contents as "chocolates," the DOJ said. Mailing and receiving scorpions across states in the U.S. broke federal mailing laws, the DOJ said.
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Drake was charged on Feb. 23 with conspiracy to violate the Lacey Act, and on March 14 he pleaded guilty to the single charge. Drake did not respond to an email request for comment Wednesday.
This case was investigated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, with assistance from Customs and Border Patrol and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
Anyone with information related to a wildlife crime can contact U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at 1-844-FWS-TIPS (1-844-397-8477) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Louis Krauss covers breaking news for The Register-Guard. Contact him at email@example.com, and follow him on Twitter @LouisKraussNews.
This article originally appeared on Register-Guard: Oregon man sentenced for illegally trafficking live scorpions