Man sentenced for smuggling endangered turtles into China

October 11, 2019

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A Chinese man who authorities say helped smuggle nearly 80 endangered box turtles out of the U.S. while attending a Pennsylvania college has been sentenced to a year in prison.

Haixi Sheng was sentenced Thursday. He pleaded guilty last year to smuggling goods from the United States.

Authorities say 21-year-old Sheng was living in State College and studying at Penn State University in November 2017 when he participated in a China-based smuggling ring.

Assistant U.S. Attorney James Clancy said the same ring has operated elsewhere in the U.S., shipping the endangered turtles to wealthy collectors in China. He estimated Sheng’s five shipments were worth roughly $200,000.

The Patriot-News reports Sheng’s lawyer told the judge that his client, who he called “hardworking, but naive,” played a minor role and was pressured into smuggling.