A 38-year-old area man was nabbed by officials for allegedly having possession of seven Sandbar sharks in a pool at his Dutchess County home with the intent to sell them.
State Attorney General Letitia James and Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos said Wednesday, March 20, that Joshua Seguine, of Lagrangeville, was busted following an investigation after he was found with five live sharks in the back of a truck.
“The trafficking of protected species is both unlawful and harmful to these vulnerable creatures," said James. “This individual is charged with knowingly putting these endangered species in harm’s way in an effort to line his own pockets. My office will continue to enforce the laws that safeguard our wildlife and hold accountable those who seek to violate them.”
According to the felony complaint and statements made by the prosecutor at arraignment, Seguine came to the attention of DEC Law Enforcement in July of 2017, after he was allegedly found in possession of five undersized sharks in the back of his truck.
According to authorities, Seguine admitted that he was transporting the sharks to New York, where he intended to sell them, and that he possessed additional live sharks at his house.
After this information was sent to DEC, investigators discovered that Seguine was allegedly conducting business under the name Aquatic Apex Life LLC, which had offered sharks for sale as recently as June 29, 2017, on the website MonsterFishKeepers.com.
Using this information, DEC police obtained a warrant to search Seguine’s house in Lagrangeville. DEC officers, accompanied by biologists from the Long Island Aquarium located in Riverhead, and the Wildlife Conservation Society’s New York Aquarium, allegedly discovered an above-ground pool at Seguine’s house that contained seven live sharks.
The sharks were subsequently identified as Sandbar sharks, the possession of which is prohibited by New York law without a special license. The search also uncovered two dead Leopard sharks, one dead Hammerhead shark, and the rostrum (snout) of a smalltooth sawfish, an endangered species.
Biologists from the two aquariums assessed the sharks and then transferred them to the Riverhead facility. The sharks were subsequently moved to the New York Aquarium in Coney Island.
The cost to legally buy a Sandbar shark is approximately $11,500.
Seguine was arraigned on Wednesday, March 20, in the Town of LaGrange Justice Court and released under the supervision of probation. His next court date is scheduled for April 16.
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