Two Riviera Beach men were arrested and charged with stealing sea turtle eggs from a St. Lucie County beach.
Benjamin G. Greenberg, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; Andrew Aloise, Resident Agent in Charge Florida, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS); and Major Olin Rondeau, South A Regional Commander, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) made the announcement.
Carl Lawrence Cobb, 60, of Riviera Beach, is charged by indictment with two counts of transporting sea turtle eggs for the purpose of sale, in violation of the Lacey Act, Title 16, United States Code, Sections 3372(a)(1) and 3373(d)(1)(B), and two counts of violating the Endangered Species Act by possessing the eggs, in violation of Title 16, Sections 1538(a)(1)(G) and 1540(b)(1). Raymond Saunders, 50, also of Riviera Beach, is charged by indictment with one count of transporting sea turtle eggs for the purpose of sale and one count of violating the Endangered Species Act by possessing the eggs. If convicted of their respective charges, the defendants face up to five years in prison for each Lacey Act violation and up to twelve months in prison for the Endangered Species Act violations.
According to the court record, on May 5, 2017, a concerned citizen reported to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission that a man was disturbing sea turtle nests on North Hutchinson Island. A law enforcement investigation revealed that Cobb had removed over 200 eggs from two sea turtle nests. On May 24, 2017, law enforcement officials observed Cobb and Saunders remove approximately 469 sea turtle eggs from nests on North Hutchinson Island. Cobb and Saunders were arrested as they were transporting the eggs to Palm Beach County. The recovered eggs were relocated by marine biologists in the hope that some of them will yield hatchlings.
Mr. Greenberg commended the investigative efforts of USFWS and the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. This case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Ryan Butler and Assistant United States Attorney Daniel E. Funk.
An indictment is only an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
Department of Justice
Office of the U.S. Attorney
Southern District of Florida