(05/01/2014)
It's a strange offense.

A federal grand jury in Charleston has indicted a Jackson County man on two counts of unlawful transport and sale of wildlife for allegedly capturing about 300 wild box turtles in West Virginia and selling them to out-of-state buyers.

Thomas Pepin, of Ravenswood, who allegedly used the alias Timmy Stark when trying to sell the turtles. according to the complaint, hunted and captured the turtles from sites near his home between July of 2012 and September 2013 and “sold them to numerous customers outside of West Virginia” knowing that what he was doing was illegal.

Pepin allegedly sold 12 Eastern box turtles to a federal officer for $18 each and one month later, a second sale involving 28 turtles to the same agent for $400.

Pepin allegedly stuffed the turtles in tube socks to restrict their movement, then placing them in plastic bins with limited air holes, and placed them in a cardboard box on which no special handling instructions were posted. Half of the 28 turtles shipped were dead when they arrived.


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