Joshua Seguine, 40, of LaGrangeville, N.Y., has pleaded guilty to illegal possession of seven sandbar sharks with an intent to sell, New York Times reports.
The ruling comes after those sharks were found in a 16-foot aboveground pool in his basement during a search of his residence in 2017. The charge also stems from the discovery of the snout of a smalltooth sawfish, which received protection under the Endangered Species Act in 2003, making it illegal to sell, own, or kill the marine fish. Two dead leopard sharks, and a dead hammerhead shark were also found.
The New York Department of Environmental Conservation launched an investigation into Seguine after learning of his 2017 arrest in Georgia. Seguine was arrested and charged with driving without a license and for possession of five small sharks in a tank in the back of his truck. Seguine confessed that he intended on transporting those sharks to New York and selling them, in addition to other sharks that he already had at home.
The investigation revealed that he had a business called Aquatic Apex Life LLC, and offered to sell sharks on the website MonsterFishKeepers.com. Seguine has been ordered to pay a $5,000 fine. He was sentenced to conditional discharge, meaning he will be required to abide by court-ordered conditions in lieu of additional jail time or probation.
“Let this serve as a loud and clear message: We will not tolerate anyone who preys on protected species to line their pockets,” New York attorney general Letitia James said in a statement. “My office will continue to enforce the laws that safeguard our wildlife, and we will hold accountable those who violate them.”