LAGRANGEVILLE, NY — An arrest was made in Dutchess County of a man accused of illegally trafficking live sharks. State Attorney General Letitia James and Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos announced Wednesday the arrest of Joshua Seguine, 38, of LaGrangeville.
He was charged in the Town of LaGrange Justice Court with illegal commercialization of fish, shellfish, crustaceans and wildlife with intent to sell, a felony. Authorities said he was in illegal possession of seven sandbar sharks, which are a protected species under New York law.
James said the trafficking of protected species is both unlawful and harmful to the vulnerable creatures.
“This individual is charged with knowingly putting these endangered species in harm’s way in an effort to line his own pockets,” she said. “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, Seguine came to the attention of DEC law enforcement in July 2017, after he was found to be in possession of five undersized sharks in the back of his truck, authorities said.
He admitted that he was taking the sharks to New York State, where he intended to sell them, law officials said, and that he had additional live sharks at his house.
Investigators found that Seguine was conducting business under the name Aquatic Apex Life LLC, which had offered sharks for sale as recently as June 29 on the website monsterfishkeepers.com.
DEC police obtained a search warrant for Seguine’s house in LaGrangeville, which was executed Aug. 23.
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DEC officers, along with biologists from the Long Island Aquarium in Riverhead and the Wildlife Conservation Society’s New York Aquarium in Coney Island, found an above-ground pool at Seguine’s house that contained seven live sharks, authorities said.
The animals were identified as sandbar sharks, the possession of which is prohibited by state law without a special license.
Authorities said they also found two dead leopard sharks, one dead hammerhead shark and the snout of a smalltooth sawfish, which is an endangered species.
Biologists transferred the sharks, after assessing them, to the Riverhead facility. They were eventually moved to the New York Aquarium in Coney Island.
The cost to legally acquire a sandbar shark is about $11,500, according to authorities. According to New York State, where the value of fish, shellfish, crustaceans, wildlife, or parts thereof, exceeds $1,500, the offense shall constitute a class E felony under the provisions of the penal law.
After arraignment, Seguine was released under supervision of probation
His next court date is set for April 16.
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