LAWFUEL – A Long Beach, California man has been convicted of federal charges for
concealing several extremely rare iguanas that had been illegally imported into the Untied States.
Jereme James, 34, was found guilty yesterday of one count of concealing
and one count of possessing the endangered animals.
The Fiji Island banded iguana (Brachylophus fasciatus) is threatened with
extinction and is protected under an international treaty known as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. While on a trip to Fiji in September 2002, James allegedly abducted three hatchling Fiji Island
banded iguanas from an ecological preserve, and then allegedly brought them to the United States.
After receiving a tip that James possessed several specimens of the
endangered species, the United States Fish & Wildlife Service opened an
undercover investigation. During the investigation, James told an undercover operative that he sold a trio of Fiji Island banded iguanas four years ago for $32,000. After a series of meetings with the defendant, Fish & Wildlife Service agents executed a search warrant at James’ house in July and recovered four Fiji
Island banded iguanas.
James is scheduled to be sentenced by United States District Judge Manuel
Real on July 14, 2008. At sentencing, James faces a maximum possible sentence of twenty years in federal prison.
CONTACT: Assistant United States Attorney Reema M. El-Amamy
Release No. 08-039