U.S. Attorney's Office - District of Oregon
Emergency Messages as of 5:06 am, Fri. Dec. 6
No information currently posted. Operating as usual.
Subscribe to receive FlashAlert messages from U.S. Attorney's Office - District of Oregon. Please use any browser other than Internet Explorer.
Primary email address for a new account:

Emergency Alerts News Releases  
And/or follow our FlashAlerts via Twitter

About FlashAlert on Twitter:

FlashAlert utilizes the free service Twitter to distribute emergency text messages. While you are welcome to register your cell phone text message address directly into the FlashAlert system, we recommend that you simply "follow" the FlashAlert account for U.S. Attorney's Office - District of Oregon by clicking on the link below and logging in to (or creating) your free Twitter account. Twitter sends messages out exceptionally fast thanks to arrangements they have made with the cell phone companies.

Click here to add U.S. Attorney's Office - District of Oregon to your Twitter account or create one.

Hide this Message


Manage my existing Subscription

News Release
Image: Seized Eastern Box Turtle
Image: Seized Eastern Box Turtle
Chinese National Pleads Guilty to Smuggling More Than 300 Endangered and Vulnerable Turtles from the U.S. to China (Photo) - 11/26/19

EUGENE, Ore.—A Chinese national pleaded guilty today for directing a scheme whereby hundreds of endangered and vulnerable turtles were purchased in the U.S. and smuggled via U.S. mail and commercial airline flights to China.

Xiao Dong Qin, 34, a resident of Shanghai, China, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to smuggle goods from the U.S.

According to court documents, beginning in at least May 2017 and continuing until June 2018, Qin directed an unindicted co-conspirator in Eugene to purchase more than 300 live turtles from reptile dealers in Alabama, California, Florida, Kentucky, Michigan, New Jersey, Nevada, North Carolina, and South Carolina. All of the turtles purchased and smuggled by Qin are protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

A two-year investigation by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) revealed that in a 13-month period, Qin facilitated the purchase and transportation of approximately 136 Florida box turtles, 76 eastern box turtles, 57 North American wood turtles, 20 spotted turtles, 18 diamondback terrapins, seven yellow-blotched map turtles, and one Blanding’s turtle. USFWS investigators determined the market value of the turtles involved in this investigation exceeded $250,000 in the Chinese pet trade.

In February 2019, Qin was arrested at the Los Angeles International Airport by USFWS agents when he arrived from Shanghai.

Qin faces a maximum sentence of ten years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release. He will be sentenced on February 27, 2020 before U.S. District Court Judge Michael J. McShane.

As part of the plea agreement, Qin has agreed to pay nearly $8,000 in restitution to rehabilitation facilities near Chicago and San Antonio; and The Turtle Conservancy near Los Angeles for costs associated with the care of turtles intercepted by law enforcement.

This case was investigated by USFWS with assistance from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. It is being prosecuted by Pamela Paaso, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

# # #

View more news releases from U.S. Attorney's Office - District of Oregon.