Florida man gets one year in federal prison for buying endangered animal parts
TAMPA, Florida. – A Florida man was sentenced to a year and a day in federal prison for buying endangered dead animal parts.
Steven Phillip Griffin II, 36, was sentenced last week in federal court in Tampa, court records show. He pleaded guilty in November to receiving and transporting endangered species in violation of the Endangered Species Act and to possessing firearms and ammunition as a convicted felon.
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“This sentence sends a clear message to wildlife traffickers that we and our law enforcement partners are responsible for identifying and apprehending those who exploit protected species for commercial purposes,” the agency said. Special Agent in Charge Phillip Land of the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
According to the plea agreement, Griffin communicated with an undercover wildlife officer for more than two years to negotiate the sale and purchase of endangered and threatened wildlife. Griffin has repeatedly stated that he collects skulls, complete skeletons and other parts of animals such as lions, tigers, leopards, jaguars, rhinos and elephants. Griffin also sent photographs from his personal collection, along with items from his wish list, to the undercover agent.
In May 2019, Griffin traveled to Texas, met with undercover agents, and purchased two southern white rhino horns, four elephant ivory tusks, an African lion skull, and three elephant skulls. leopard for $9,750, investigators said. He then carried the items to his Tampa Bay area home.
Officers then executed a federal search warrant at Griffin’s residence and seized a variety of animal parts, firearms and ammunition, officials said. Griffin had previously been convicted of a felony and was not permitted to possess a firearm or ammunition, authorities said.
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