Seven people have been charged for the alleged trafficking ring that sends thousands of flying squirrels from Florida to South Korea, said the authorities on Monday.
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, these alleged poachers trapped these flying squirrels which happen to be protected wild animals in the state before selling them to liscensed wildlife dealer who lied to his buyers that these squirrels were captive bred.
This wildlife dealer who is from Florida too, worked with couriers from Georgia who then drove these squirrels north to Chicago. They were then shipped by an unwitting international wildlife exporter to Asia, confirmed the authorities.
Almost 3,600 flying squirrels were moved by the ring in a span of three years. The authorities said that he Florida wildlife dealer illegally netted over $213,000. The investigation regarding this case started when the FWC got a tip in 2019 regarding the illegal squirrel trapping in Marion County.
The authorites determine that the suspected poachers set up to 10,000 traps in the central part of the state. The seven suspects have been hit with many variety of charges which includes racketeering, scheme to defraud and dealing in stolen property.