NANFA-L-- Follow-Up On Alabama Turtle Poaching Arrests

Bruce Stallsmith (
Tue, 12 Jul 2005 10:52:39 -0400

Below is a follow-up article to earlier discussion about people busted for
turtle poaching in Alabama. Seven poachers were convicted, and in my humble
opinion received light sentences.

--Bruce Stallsmith
Huntsville, AL, US of A
along the Tennessee
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The Center for North American Herpetology
Lawrence, Kansas
12 July 2005

Huntsville Times (Alabama)

Seven convicted on turtle poaching charges in federal investigation
Poachers nabbed in ongoing federal investigation

Six Alabama residents were convicted 28 June 2005 in Calhoun County
on multiple counts of violating state laws regarding the possession or sale
protected non-game species related to an ongoing federal investigation into
turtle poaching.

Aarion Tucker of Guntersville also was charged in the investigation and was
convicted 5 July in Marshall County for five counts of the same violation.
paid $500 in fines plus court costs and $500 restitution to the Alabama
Federation's Investigative Fund, according to information provided by the
Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

The undercover investigation has been ongoing for years and is believed to
centered in the Southeast, with illegal sales of turtles to restaurants and
stores as far away as Asia and Europe. Dubbed "Operation Snapper," it
numerous local and state law enforcement agencies working in conjunction
several state wildlife agencies and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The
Alabama Wildlife Federation's Investigative Fund is used to assist the state
conservation department with covert operations and resource recovery.

In Calhoun County, James Robert Hall of Anniston was convicted on 19 counts
and fined $1,900 as well as $500 restitution to the investigative fund. He
was sentenced to 30 days in jail, which was suspended. Hall was given two

Other convictions:

Teresa Hudson Whitaker, Anniston, 10 counts, $1,000 in fines and $300

John Edward Wright, Oxford, 9 counts, $900 in fines and $300 restitution

Donald Collins Lehr, Anniston, 5 counts, $500 in fines and $250 restitution

William Davis Lehr, Anniston, 10 counts, $1,000 in fines and $500

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