A Jersey Shore man admitted Tuesday that he falsely labeled a package containing 10 live iguanas bound for Hong Kong as “toys," federal authorities said.
Jason Ksepka, 44, of Farmingdale, shipped the package via U.S. Priority Mail Express from the post office in Lambertville, Acting U.S Attorney Rachael A. Honig said.
An unidentified sender paid him $500 to falsely label the package and ship it to Hong Kong, on top of $500 that he’d already given him, Honig said.
Ksepka labeled the contents as “Toys” and the sender as “Luke Jacobs” on a U.S. Postal Service international shipping label and customs form that accompanied the package, the U.S. attorney said.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service inspectors intercepted the package at the mail facility at John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens and recovered the rhinoceros iguanas in November 2017, she said.
Rather than face trial, Ksepka took a deal from the government, pleading guilty in U.S. District Court in Trenton of violating the lacey Act by falsely labeling an international shipment of wildlife, Honig said.
As part of the deal, he agreed to pay a fine of $1,000 to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Lacey Act Reward Fund, she said.
U.S. District Judge Zahid Quraishi scheduled sentencing for Jan. 25, 2022.
Honig credited special agents of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement with the investigation leading to the guilty plea, secured by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathleen P. O’Leary of her Government Fraud Unit in Newark.
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