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NJ man pleads guilty to illegally trying to ship lizards

NJ man pleads guilty to illegally trying to ship lizards

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A ‘stop-start’ pattern of evolution may explain why there are only 25 species of crocodiles alive today, compared to the thousands achieved in the same amount of time by other animals like lizards and birds.

TRENTON — A New Jersey man has admitted illegally trying to send 10 live lizards to Hong Kong.

Jason Ksepka pleaded guilty in federal court in Trenton on Tuesday to falsely labeling an international shipment of wildlife from Lambertville in November 2017.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office alleged the 44-year-old from Farmingdale, Monmouth County, was paid $500 by someone else to send the package containing 10 live rhinoceros iguanas.

Ksepka falsely labeled the contents of the package as toys and used a fictitious name as the sender, prosecutors said. The package was destined for Hong Kong, but authorities said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service inspectors intercepted it at New York’s JFK Airport and removed the animals.

Ksepka faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison when he is sentenced in January. Under his plea agreement, he agreed to pay a $1,000 fine.

A message was left Tuesday with an attorney representing Ksepka.

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