SoCal Man Pleads Guilty In Tortoise Smuggling Case

A man has pleaded guilty to smuggling about $30,000 worth of rare Asian tortoises into the United States.

Wai Ho "Bobby" Gin, 31, entered pleas in federal court to one count each of conspiring to smuggle goods into the United States and knowingly importing merchandise prohibited by law.

He faces up to 10 years in prison and a $500,000 fine when he is sentenced in January.

In his plea agreement, Gin acknowledged that in 2002 and 2003 he worked with Umesh Tekani, an alleged accomplice in Singapore, to smuggle endangered Radiated and Indian Star tortoises.

The tortoises are prized by collectors for their brilliant shells and can sell for several thousands of dollars on the black market.

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