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Saturday, April 17, 2021

Former Oklahoma City Zoo Staffer Pleads Guilty in Trafficking Endangered Galapagos Tortoises

A former Oklahoma City Zoo employee plead guilty to trafficking stolen endangered Galapagos tortoise hatchlings, according to federal prosecutors Thursday. 

Joshua Taylor Lucas has been ordered to pay $32,500 in restitution to the Oklahoma City Zoo after pleading guilty to wildlife trafficking. 

Lucas was charged with violation of the Lacey Act, an act which prohibits the importing, exporting, transporting, selling, receiving, acquiring, or purchasing of any fish, wildlife, or plant that was illegally taken, possessed, transported, or sold.

At his hearing, Lucas admitted to stealing and shipping 21 Galapagos tortoise hatchlings to a Nevada man who was previously indicted in the Southern District of Texas for the illegal trafficking of Galapagos tortoises. 

United States District Judge Bernard Jones accepted Lucas’ guilty plea and, in addition to paying $32,500 in restitution the Oklahoma City Zoo, he sentenced Lucas to serve three years of probation and 100 hours of community service. 

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